Self Harm

Approved by: Dean of Students Office

History:  Updated 2021                                        

Related Policies:  Student Code of Conduct: Behavior Expectations | Medical Withdrawal

Related Forms, Procedures and References: 

For Questions Contact: Dean of Students Office | 414.382.6118 | FO 119 | deanofstudents@alverno.edu


Students who display disruptive behavior, go missing, or disclose distressing information about self-harm to faculty or staff should be reported through Blaze, the College’s student support system and/or to Campus Safety (Emergency Line: 414-382-6911).  Those filing a report should only include observable actions/behaviors (i.e. do not diagnose or offer opinions).

Signs of distress:

  • References to suicide or self-injurious behavior

  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

  • Significant changes in mood, appearance, hygiene, or behavior

  • Marked decline in quality of work or class participation

  • Excessive absence or tardiness

  • Coming to class or meetings while intoxicated or high

  • Disclosure of current or past abuse

  • Depressed or lethargic mood

  • Hyperactivity or very rapid speech

  • Behavior or communication indicating loss of contact with reality

  • Signs of physical injury

  • Death of a loved one

  • Recent loss or break-up

  • Exaggerated emotional response that is inappropriate to the situation

  • Dependency/poor boundaries

If it becomes evident (through observed behavior and/or by report(s) from faculty, staff, or students) that there are concerns about a student, the Assistant Dean of Students may conduct a Health Assessment or recommend an administrative withdrawal until further steps can be determined.

The Assistant Dean of Students will:

  • Review on an individualized, case-by-case basis all available information obtained from Incident Reports, conversations with students, faculty, and staff.

  • Take into consideration the nature, duration, and severity of the risk, and the likelihood, imminence and nature of the future harmful conduct, either to the student or to others and will apply the direct threat analysis.

  • Meet with the student (if possible), giving notice to the student of the meeting and providing an opportunity for the student to provide evidence to the contrary and/or to make suggestions for reasonable accommodation(s) short of involuntary withdrawal from the College.

  • Consult with the student’s family if the student has a signed waiver indicating permission to share information; or the student behavior constitutes a danger to self or others.

  • Review with the Dean of Students, the student’s advisor, and the Director of Counseling and Health Services available information, and make a decision regarding the student’s status.  

  • Notify the student in writing of any decision made.  

Mandatory Health Assessment

An assessment of a student can be mandated by the Assistant Dean of Students or the Dean of Students if:

  • A student becomes incapacitated as the apparent result of alcohol or other drug use

  • Emergency medical personnel are summoned to transport a student to a hospital for emergency care

  • The student is transported to the hospital for emergency medical care or refuses to accept such transportation when recommended by the emergency medical personnel 

  • The student engages in or threatens to engage in behavior causing harm to self or others

  • The student’s behavior is disrupting the educational environment.

The student will be required to follow the recommendations of the assessing agency/practitioner as well as those imposed by the Assistant Dean of Students or Dean of Students, and sign a release to enable college officials to monitor compliance with the treatment plan.  To appeal, see the Conduct Process.

Administrative Withdrawal

This policy is to be used to transition a student to a safer and/or more conducive environment when remaining at the College is not in the best interests of the student or the Alverno community.  In most cases, these situations can be handled through voluntary medical withdrawals; however, if the student is unwilling to pursue a voluntary withdrawal or if the situation requires more than a withdrawal from courses (i.e. “Direct Threat” remains), the Assistant Dean of Students or Dean of Students may invoke the right to administratively withdraw a student. The college strives to balance concern for the health and welfare of individual students with those of the larger campus community. Alverno will take action for the welfare of the individual student and the College community if a student engages in behavior that 

  • presents a direct threat of harm to themselves or to others or 

  • substantially disrupts the learning or working environment of others or 

  • demonstrates destructive, threatening, or other disruptive behavior or 

  • poses a danger to life, health, safety, or property or 

  • causes significant property damage, or 

  • impedes the lawful activities of others. 

If after conversation with the student, appropriate medical professionals and other college officials, the student chooses to withdraw voluntarily, the Advising Office will be notified and process the withdrawal.   

Potential Responses to the Behavior

The Assistant Dean of Students or the Dean of Students reserves the right to take any of the following action:  

  1. Call 911 to have the student taken to the hospital to receive appropriate health care.

  2. Contact law enforcement officials to prevent harm to self or others, or require any further action on the part of the student that is deemed necessary or desirable under the circumstances.

  3. Continue at the College with no restrictions- The College may take no action if it is decided, based on information presented, that the student be allowed to continue with no restrictions.  Care should be taken to advise the student about accommodations and available support services.

  4. Permit the student to continue at the College pending further proceedings – The College may require the student to meet certain conditions regarding over a specified period of time to remain enrolled.  Such conditions could include: stopping classroom disruptiveness, or continuing only if the student participates in supportive services or accommodation arrangements. Failure to comply with the conditions, coupled with further disruptive behavior, may result in additional sanctions or an involuntary medical withdrawal. 

  5. Permit the student to remain enrolled at the College subject to conditions but with a review of resident eligibility– Under certain circumstances, where other students’ living and learning environment is very likely to be disrupted by the student’s behavior, the Assistant Dean of Students can suspend the student from the residence hall. 

  6. Employ interim suspension of the student’s studies and/or initiate separation from campus – If there is a pervasive pattern of disruptive or threatening behavior, the student may be suspended from studies and/or ordered off campus.  During the suspension, students are not allowed to participate in any Alverno activities, attend classes, reside in or visit Alverno residence halls, and may not be on campus except to attend meetings related to the case. This interim period allows time for a student to receive needed medical care, and for all parties to obtain an evaluation regarding the student’s capacity to return to the College.  If it appears that the student is not capable of understanding the nature or severity of the action, this administrative withdrawal policy may be activated prior to issuance of a determination in the conduct process.  

  7. Referral for Evaluation - The College may refer a student for evaluation by an independent licensed psychiatrist or psychologist chosen by the College within a specified period of time (typically 5-10 days). Students referred for evaluation will be informed in writing with personal and/or certified delivery.  A student who fails to complete the evaluation in accordance with these procedures and/or give permission for the results to be shared with appropriate administrators may be withdrawn.  Based on the results of the evaluation, the Assistant Dean of Students may require the student to commit to a treatment plan as a condition for continued enrollment. Alverno may choose to cover all or a portion of the cost of the evaluation.

  8. Involuntary Medical Withdrawal – A student may be withdrawn if it is determined by a preponderance of the evidence (that it is more likely than not) 

  9. that medical evaluations following an interim suspension do not support a student’s readiness to return; or

  10. that the student is engaging in or likely to engage in behavior which poses a substantial danger to the student, to others or to property

  11. indications that the student is unable to engage in basic required activities necessary to obtain an education, or that substantially impedes the lawful activities of others; or

  12. that there is a pervasive pattern of disruptive or threatening behavior, or behaviors that are assaultive, suicidal, self-injurious or self-neglectful which present an imminent risk of injury to the student or others, the student may be withdrawn and/or ordered off campus; or 

  13. that a student fails to complete the required assessment during a medical interim suspension; or

  14. that a known condition has deteriorated (e.g. a student with an eating disorder), rendering the student to be in imminent danger or incapable of functioning as a student.

Tuition/Refunds/Housing Fees  

Students will receive a statement from the Student Accounts Office indicating how their withdrawal affected their account. An administrative withdrawal does not dismiss students from their financial obligations with the college. Financial obligations could include tuition and fees, room, board outstanding fines, childcare, repayment for financial aid, etc.

If a recipient of student financial aid funds withdraws from the institution during an academic term or a payment period, the amount of grant or loan assistance received may be subject to return and/or repayment provisions.

Incoming International exchange students attending Alverno follow Alverno College policies for refunds.  In addition, Alverno students attending a foreign university through the Alverno College Exchange Program follow Alverno policies for refunds.

For Alverno Students attending a foreign university (as an exchange student) through direct enrollment follow the refund policies of the university they are attending or the policies of the third party provider. This same policy pertains to International degree or exchange students attending Alverno.

Re-enrollment

These procedures are designed to ensure that a health emergency no longer exists and a treatment plan for continuing good health is in place to support the student’s transition back to Alverno, support members of the Alverno community during the student’s transition back to Alverno, and ensure the safety of the student and the College community.  The Assistant Dean of Students will inform the student of the decision in regard to granting reentry and if approved, will release the Registration Hold. The student’s advisor will be notified.  

In addition to the information that a reapplying student submits, the College may require the student to undergo a medical evaluation by a licensed mental health professional of the College’s choosing.  The results of the evaluation must be disclosed to appropriate College personnel.  The Assistant Dean of Students reserves the right to require the student to comply with a treatment plan recommended by an outside and/or Alverno College physical/mental health professional as a condition of returning to the College community. 

If approved, the student may need to complete documentation with the Admissions Office.

If the Student Service restriction (Hold #27) is released, the student may meet with the advisor to register for classes.

Conditions for Re-enrollment after Removal from Campus or Residence Hall

A student who has been removed from the campus or residence halls must request to be re-admitted to the College. A letter to a designee of the College describing the following should be submitted 30 days prior to the start of the desired semester of return: 

  1. What the student has been doing during their time away from the residence hall or from Alverno

  2. What has changed for the student that will assist them to be successful 

  3. What the student learned in the process

  4. What support systems the student has developed (e.g. counseling, support group, group therapy, family support) in order to be successful in this environment

  5. What their plans are for successful completion of a degree from the College

A meeting with the Director of Residence Life, Assistant Dean of Students, the Director of Counseling and Health Services, and/or the Dean of Students or appropriate College official is required. Reinstatement may be contingent upon satisfactory completion of an evaluation or assessment and application to Alverno College through the Admissions Office or Advising Office may be required.