Campus Assessment Response Evaluation and Support (CARES)

Safety is everyone’s responsibility!

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CARES Mission:

The mission of Austin Community College’s Campus Assessment Response Evaluation and Support (CARES) is to promote the health and safety of its students and college community. The CARES program is dedicated to the prevention, early intervention, and response to students’ concerning, disruptive, and threatening behaviors.

It is important for any faculty, staff, and/or students to immediately report any situation that could possibly result in harm to anyone at Austin Community College. Any member of the campus community may become aware of a troubling person or situation that is causing serious anxiety, stress, or fear.

If a person poses an active or immediate risk of violence to self or others, ACC Police should be contacted at 512-223-7999 or 911.

CARES Purpose:

The purpose of the CARES program is to coordinate a collaborative network of institutional and community resources to build and maintain student well-being. The CARES teams have three major functions:

  • Develop individualized student intervention, support strategies, and other case coordination
  • Assess referrals, evaluate existing cases, and recommend actions according to college policies and best practices in behavioral intervention management
  • Engage in an intervention plan with the student

General Guidelines for Helping Students in Distress

Faculty and staff may be the first to notice that a student is struggling in some way. If they notice signs of distress, they can express their concern directly to the student and gather more information if they feel comfortable doing so.  Faculty and staff are not expected to take on the roles of counselors or diagnosticians. Alternatively, they can seek consultation from the District Clinical Counseling Services or a CARES team member via the online referral form.

Behaviors that can be referred to CARES may fall within the following classifications: Concerning, Disruptive or Threatening. The goal is to connect them to CARES and offer them assistance, provide preventative interventions as needed, and avoid escalation or a violation of Student Conduct.

Potential academic, behavioral/emotional, or physical indicators of student difficulties that may grant a referral include the following:

  • Concerning Behaviors
    • Examples of concerning behaviors may include:
      • Excessive absenteeism, especially when they historically have been to class
      • Concerns about a student’s well-being
      • Sudden, significant drop in academic performance
      • Visible changes in appearance (poor hygiene, noticeable weight loss/gain)
      • Symptoms of depression or anxiety
      • Teasing or bullying
      • Isolation from others
      • Displays paranoia, mistrust or hallucinations
      • Extreme mood swings
      • Preoccupation with death or suicide
      • Substance abuse/dependence
      • Student self-disclosure of hopelessness or desperation
  • Disruptive Behaviors
    • Examples of Disruptive Behaviors
      • Taking/making calls, texting, using smart phones for social media, etc. during class.
      • Students’ misuse technology in the classroom. Sneaking text messages from beneath the desk or having a laptop open to Facebook or other social media sites during a lecture.
      • Frequent interruption of professor while talking and asking non-relevant, off-topic questions.
      • Inappropriate or overly revealing clothing in the classroom, including extremely sexually provocative clothes, pajamas, or other sleepwear in the classroom.
      • Crosstalk or carrying on side conversations while the professor is speaking.
      • Interruptions such as frequent use of the restroom, smoke breaks, etc.
      • Poor personal hygiene that leads to a classroom disruption or lack of focus.
      • Use of alcohol or other substances in class. Attending class while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
      • Entitled or disrespectful talk to professor or other students.
      • Arguing grades or “grade grubbing” for extra points after the professor requests that the student stop.
      • Eating or consuming beverages in class without permission (or against the class norms).
      • Showing up to class in strange clothing (e.g., dressed in military gear, Halloween costumes when it is not Halloween, etc.)
      • Reading magazines, newspapers (yes, they still read them, although usually the campus one), or books, or studying for other classes/doing other homework.
      • Student posts non-relevant spam or unrelated personal advertising material in the forum discussion board.
      • Frequent interruption of the professor’s questions, threaded discussion posts with non-relevant comments, or off-topic, personal discussions.
      • Inappropriate or overly revealing pictures shared with members of the online community through their profile.
      • Choosing a screen name or profile name that is offensive to others, such as Smokingthedope420@university.edu or assman69@
      • Posting or making comments while drunk or intoxicated. Attending online class discussions or lectures while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
      • Arrogant, entitled, rude, or disrespectful emails or messages to professor(s) or other students.
      • Arguing grades or “grade grubbing” for extra points after the professor requests that the student stop.
      • Inciting other students to argue with the professor over grades or other assessment-related expectations.
  • Threatening Behaviors
    • Examples of Dangerous Behaviors
      • Racist or otherwise fixated (not just expressed once to press a button) thoughts, such as “Women should be barefoot and pregnant,” “Gays are an abomination to God and should be punished,” or “Muslims are all terrorists and should be wiped off the earth.”
      • Bullying behavior focused on students in the classroom.
      • Direct communicated threats to the professor or another student, such as, “I am going to kick your ass,” or “If you say that again, I will end you.”
      • Prolonged, non-verbal passive-aggressive behavior, such as sitting with arms crossed, glaring or staring at the professor, and refusing to speak or respond to questions or directives.
      • Self-injurious behavior, such as cutting or burning, or exposing previously unexposed self-injuries.
      • Physical assault, such as pushing, shoving, or punching.
      • Throwing objects or slamming doors.
      • Storming out of the classroom when upset.
      • Conversations that are designed to upset other students, such as descriptions of weapons, killing, or death.
      • Psychotic, delusional, or rambling speech.
      • Arrogant or rude talk to the professor or other students.
      • Objectifying language that depersonalizes the professor or other students.
      • Racist or otherwise fixated thoughts such as “Gays should be stoned like back in Bible times,” “Men should go back to playing football and stop thinking so hard. Leave the mental heavy lifting to the ladies in the class,” “Muslims and Mormons are cults and should be wiped off the planet,” and others posted to the discussion boards to troll for a response or to incite an electronic “riot.”
      • Bullying and teasing behavior through messages, emails, or online hazing.
      • Direct communicated threat(s) to the professor or another student, such as, “I am going to kick your ass,” or “If you say that again, I will end you.”
      • Prolonged passive-aggressive behavior, such as constant disagreement with everyone and everything in class, challenging the professor’s credentials, and refusing to respond to questions or directives.
      • Mentioning self-injurious behavior, such as cutting or burning self, or suicidal thoughts or intentions in online posts.
      • Threats of physical assault such as pushing, shoving or punching.
      • Threats of online assaults, like hacking a website, sharing personal information, or posting others’ pictures online without permission.
      • Conversations that are designed to upset other students, such as descriptions of weapons, killing, or death.
      • Psychotic, delusional, or rambling speech in posts.
      • Arrogant, entitled, rude, or disrespectful messages to the professor or other students.
      • Objectifying language that depersonalizes the professor or other students.

[Source: NaBITA]