Page 93 - Faculty Handbook2

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Academic Concerns
93
RESPONDING TO DISTURBING CONTENT IN WRITTEN OR
ARTISTIC WORK BY A STUDENT
Faculty members and teaching assistants sometimes find
disturbing comments in the written work of students, such
as:
disclosure of personal trauma or abuse
references to suicidal thoughts or severe depression
violent or morbid content that is disturbing or threatening
sexual content that is disturbing or excessively graphic
bizarre or incoherent content
disclosure of severe problems with alcohol or drug abuse
Such writing may simply indicate a dramatic or unusual
style but may also suggest psychological or emotional
problems or possible danger to self or others. It also may
indicate a need for attention or a cry for help. The
following guidelines may help determine whether there is
reason for concern and how best to respond.
In your written comments:
acknowledge the content with comments like, “That must
have been hard for you.”
invite discussion with comments like, “Sounds like that
was difficult for you—do you have someone to talk with
about this?” or, “If you would like to talk about this, stop
by after class or during office hours.” An email to the
student is an excellent way to communicate your initial
concerns and ask the student to talk with you.