Identifying and Responding to Students in Need

Identify the experience or behaviour you are witnessing—then read the recommended response. For more information on supporting students in distress, please see our Capacity to Connect guide.

Supporting Students

Additional Supports

Island Crisis Society

Urgent and Immediate Concerns include, but are not limited to:

  • Immediate suicidal statements, such as, "I am going to kill myself"
  • Fights
  • Assault
  • Throwing objects
  • Threats made while the person is physically present
  • Specific detailed threats, such as, "I have a gun and I am coming to campus"
  • Sexually violent behaviours that are in progress or are imminent
  • Property damage or theft in progress
  • Violation of Provincial laws governing the production, use, or sale of alcohol and drugs, including their unauthorized possession or use on campus or, in association with University sponsored activity, off campus.
  • Person refusing to leaving after being told to

Signs and indicators of distressed behaviour include:

  • Suicidal thoughts or expressions like, "Sometimes I don't think it's worth it anymore"
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Marked change in person's behaviour
  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Loss of interest in school, friends, sports, and favoured activities
  • Bizarre thoughts increased by drug or alcohol use

Steps to support:

  • Speak to the person and tell them why you are concerned
  • Offer to connect the person with student counselling
  • Submit an Early Alert

Signs and indicators of violent problematic behaviour include:

  • Written threats that are non-specific, such as, "sometimes I feel like punching you"
  • Violent behaviour that is reported after the fact (the person is no longer present or engaging in the behaviour)

Steps to Take:

  • Call RCMP non-emergency number
  • Call VIU Campus Security at 250-740-6600
  • Notify the Student Conduct Office at

Signs and indicators of sexual misconduct include:

  • Sexual misconduct reported after the incident
    • Incidents may include, but are not limited to:
      • Sexual assault
      • Domestic violence
      • Stalking
      • Sexual harassment
      • Indecent exposure
      • Voyeurism.

Steps to take:

  • Refer the person to the Equity, Diversity, and Human Rights Office to file a report, discuss options, and find out about supports available on campus.

Signs and indicators of non-violent problematic behaviour:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Graffiti
  • Repeated uncivil contact (demanding meetings, emailing multiple people several times per day)
  • Vaguely threatening statements, such as, "you'll pay for this," or "you'll be sorry"
  • Fascination with violent topics and/or weapons

Steps to support:

Signs and indicators of classroom management concerns:

  • Interrupting and talking over people
  • Eye-rolling
  • Continually challenging the instructor
  • Arriving late
  • Walking in and out of the classroom
  • Refusing to drop topics
  • Dominating discussions
  • Swearing, incivility, and disrespectful behaviour

Steps to Take:

  • Address the behaviour with the student
  • Refer to your faculty's professional standards and/or class syllabus
  • Issue a Letter of Expectation
  • If issues continue or escalate, notify the Chair, Associate Dean, and then Dean to take addition steps
  • Impose sanctions as appropriate

Behaviours may include:

  • Change in academic performance
  • Failing
  • Absenteeism
  • Classroom management issues
  • Change in mood or behaviour
  • Distressed in written or verbal expression, appearance, and/or action
  • Speak to the student directly and refer to resources
  • Document details of concerns and any meetings and/or other communication
  • Refer to the Student Academic Code of Conduct and the Student Code of Conduct, as required
  • Share/report concerns with your Program Chair, Associate Dean, and/or Dean

For academic concerns:Submit a referral through Early Alert*

For conduct concerns:

Report to Student Conduct & Care

*Instructors of the English Language Centre (ELC), Faculty of Academic & Career Preparation, should refer Early Alert student concerns to the ELC Program Chair.