Addressing Inappropriate Behavior

When addressing inappropriate behavior, the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness (DPSEP) and the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards are good resources.

The Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness is dedicated to providing a safe campus for Saint Louis University students, faculty, staff and visitors.  DPSEP is staffed with well-trained and dedicated officers who patrol the campus twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Contact DPSEP at (314) 977-3000 or e-mail a Voluntary Confidential Report.

The Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards, located in Wuller Hall, 2nd Floor North, is committed to working with students and the community to foster values that reflect the mission of the University. Student Responsibility and Community Standards, under the Division of Student Development, holds students accountable for their behavior through an educational process, and seeks to provide opportunities, programming and assistance for students to attain their academic goals. Contact Student Responsibility and Community Standards at (314) 977-7326 or conduct@slu.edu.

Topic Areas:

-Student who is Harming Others (Harassing, Threatening, Discriminating)

- Student who is Verbally Aggressive

- Student who is Violent

Student who is Harming Others (Harassing, Threatening, Discriminating)

You may observe a student engaging in harmful behavior which could include harassment, intimidation, or bullying. This is a broad category, and not intended to restrict free speech, or diverse cultural expression. It's intended to ensure equal access to education. Students who are harming others may need clear boundaries, help to change behavior, or removal from the University. Those who bully have a distinctive cognitive and behavioral style. Bullies have friends and average or better self-esteem. Bullies tend to hold the power in their relationships with others. They can be male or female.

You might notice:
• A student call another student a charged epithet
• A student writing a class assignment in which he reveals he has recently driven around town with a gun and intends to kill someone
• A student, tense and fuming, standing over another student with a cocked clenched fist
• Behavior that you would consider mean or intimidating towards another student
• Other behavior that appears to be abusive behavior towards another student

- DO -
• Consider telling the student what you see
• Consider asking the student to stop the behavior
• Consider asking the student to leave the classroom
• Assess whether the behavior may constitute harassment, discrimination, or another Code of Conduct violation with the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards or the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action.
• Consider calling DPSEP at (314) 977-3000 for help
• Be aware of the impact of the student's behavior on bystanders

- DON'T -
• Get into an argument or shouting match
• Become hostile or punitive yourself, e.g., "You can't talk to me that way!"
• Take this on all by yourself
• Ignore the situation
• Touch the student, as this may be perceived as aggression or otherwise unwanted attention

Referrals:
Urgent Assessment
University Counseling Center - (314) 977-TALK (8255)
Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards - (314) 977-7326
Dean of Students - (314) 977-9378

Student who is Verbally Aggressive

Students may become verbally abusive when they encounter frustrating situations which they believe are beyond their control. They can displace anger and frustration from those situations onto the nearest target. Explosive outbursts or ongoing belligerent, hostile behavior become this student's way of gaining power and control in an otherwise out-of-control experience. It is important to remember that the student is generally not angry at you personally, but is angry at her/his world and you are the object of pent-up frustrations. This behavior is often associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs.

- DO -
• Acknowledge the student's anger and frustration, e.g., "I hear how angry you are."
• Rephrase what the student is saying and identify her/his emotion, e.g., "It appears you are upset because you feel your rights are being violated and nobody will listen."
• Reduce stimulation; invite the student to a quiet place if this is comfortable, however, do not do this if you fear for your safety. In all instances, ensure that a staff or a faculty person is easily accessible to you in the event that the student behavior escalates.
• Be honest and genuine; do not placate aggression
• Consider calling DPSEP at (314) 977-3000 if it appears the situation is escalating and you are fearful

- DON'T -
• Get into an argument or shouting match
• Become hostile or punitive yourself, e.g., "You can't talk to me that way!"
• Press for explanations for their behavior
• Ignore the situation
• Touch the student, as this may be perceived as aggression or otherwise unwanted attention

Referrals:
Urgent Assessment
University Counseling Center - (314) 977-TALK (8255)
Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards - (314) 977-7326
Dean of Students - (314) 977-9378

Student who is Violent

Violence because of emotional distress is rare and typically occurs when the student's level of frustration has become so intense, or of such an enduring nature, as to erode all of the student's emotional controls. The adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," best applies here. This behavior may be associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs.

- DO -
• Prevent total frustration and helplessness by quickly and calmly acknowledging the intensity of the situation, e.g., "I can see you're really upset and may be tempted to lash out."
• Explain clearly and directly what behaviors are acceptable, e.g., "You certainly have the right to be angry, but breaking things is not OK
• Get necessary help (send a student for other staff, DPSEP, etc.)
• Stay safe. Have easy access to a door; keep furniture between you and the student. Keep a door open if at all possible/appropriate. As with the verbally aggressive student, make certain that a staff or faculty person is nearby and accessible. In some instances, you may wish to see the student only with another person present
• Do not see the person alone if you fear for your safety

- DON'T -
• Ignore warning signs that the person is about to explode, e.g., yelling, screaming, clenched fists, threats
• Threaten or corner student
• Touch the student

Referrals:
Urgent Assessment
University Counseling Center - (314) 977-TALK (8255)
Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards - (314) 977-7326
Dean of Students - (314) 977-9378

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