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Counseling Center

RED CARD: Recognizing and Reaching Out to Students of Concern

This informational guide provides resources to help faculty and staff recognize and assist students of concern. As staff and faculty, you are often the first to see distressed and/or disruptive students. As such, you are in a position to encourage and help students connect to the support they need. Your expression of concern and offering of resources could be critical in helping to save a student from emotional, academic, and other distress.

When faced with a disruptive or distressed student, the most important first step is to determine if there is danger to anyone.

  • If there is immediate danger to anyone, call 9-1-1 and then Pace Security
  • If you are not certain about immediate danger, call Pace Security and/or the Counseling and Personal Development Center for consultation and input. After hours, Pace Security can contact the counselor on duty
  • If there is no danger but the student is having academic and/or personal issues, refer them to the appropriate campus resource(s)

(See resources and numbers at bottom of the page)

First Alert Team

Chaired by the AVP/Dean for Students, this multidisciplinary team from key University offices intervenes when a student’s success is compromised. When necessary, team members will contact a student to help them create an action plan for success. Email the Dean for Students (Pleasantville) or Dean of Students (NYC) or Dean of Students (White Plains) to refer a student to the team. Please also submit a Care Report form.

Threat Assessment Management Team (TAM)

Led by the AVP/Dean of Students and AVP for General Services/Security, the TAM is committed to improving campus safety through a proactive, collaborative, objective, and thoughtful approach to prevention, identification, assessment, intervention, and management of situations that pose or could pose a threat to the safety and well-being of the campus community. Refer to the contact information on the right in order to reach the Dean for Students and/or Security and activate the TAM.

Observe signs. Pay attention to clusters, frequency, duration and severity of signs. Then prepare, voice, act, and wrap up.

Academic Signs

  • Test anxiety
  • Discrepancy between potential and actual achievement
  • Repeated absences
  • Excessive procrastination
  • Uncharacteristically poor work
  • Repeated requests for special consideration and/or extensions
  • Morbid or bizarre themes on assignments
  • Behavior that regularly interferes with the decorum of the classroom
  • Shift in discussion from academic to personal issues

Physical Signs

  • Marked change in personal hygiene
  • Dramatic weight gain or weight loss
  • Impaired speech, garbled/disjointed thoughts
  • High levels of irritability
  • Unruly, aggressive, or abrasive behavior
  • Disorientation, seeming "out of it"
  • Frequent falling asleep in class, listlessness, other sleep disturbances
  • Emotions displayed to an extreme degree or for a prolonged period
  • Excessive drinking or drug use
  • Behavior that regularly interferes with public decorum

Interpersonal Signs

  • Disclosure of personal distress
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Extreme dependency on others
  • Recent traumatic experiences or losses
  • Expressed concern about the student by peers
  • Stalking or harassing
  • Delusions or paranoia
  • Verbal abuse

Emergency Signs

  • Direct or indirect expression of suicidal thoughts
  • Direct or indirect expression or homicidal thoughts
  • Severe loss of emotional control
  • Gross impairment in thinking ability
  • Loss of connection with reality
  • Physical violence
  • Written or verbal threats


  • Trust your instincts and observations and be proactive
  • Consult with the Counseling and Personal Development Center and/or other campus resources, including your supervisor, to discuss issues and courses of action
  • Identify campus and community resources for the student
  • If safe, find a private spot to meet with student
  • Allow sufficient time to talk
  • Attend to your safety, consider letting colleagues know about a difficult upcoming conversation and its location and time
  • If you decide not to have direct contact with the student, refer the situation to another appropriate University resource


  • Share your observations and concerns directly and calmly
  • Be specific about the behaviors or communications that have raised your concerns
  • Listen and repeat back what the student shares
  • Avoid challenging or becoming argumentative with the student
  • Recognize the student's distress
  • Ask directly if the student wants to hurt himself or others. This will not put these ideas into the student's head
  • Balance your inability to promise confidentiality with respecting the student's privacy
  • Highlight the importance of the student getting some professional and other support


  • Share referrals and resources
  • Assist the student in contacting these referral sources
  • If possible, offer to walk the student to the appropriate resource
  • Reiterate this and any other steps the student should take
  • Encourage the student to keep the appointment and set up a follow up with the student
  • Help the student also identify personal supports in their life
  • Normalize getting help, highlighting how many students do so with great success during their college and graduate school years

Wrap Up...

  • Keep a written summary of all contact with the student and others around the issue
  • Consult with your supervisor and/or the Counseling and Personal Development Center after an incident
  • Set up a follow up appointment with the student
  • Consider a referral to the CARE Team
  • If desired or warranted, complete a CARE Report

Important Resources And Telephone Numbers

IN AN EMERGENCY: Call 9-1-1 and then Pace University Security Pleasantville (914) 773-3400 or NYC (212) 346-1800 or White Plains (914) 422-4111

University Resources
Academic Success (Law School) (914) 422-4108

Athletics (Student Success and Services) - NYC
Athletics (Student Success and Services) - Westchester

(212) 346-1052
(914) 773-3684
Center for Spiritual Development (914) 773-3767
Center for Student Development & Campus Activities - NYC
Center for Student Development & Campus Activities - Westchester
(212) 346-1590
(914) 773-3767
Community Standards and Compliance (914) 773-3351
Counseling and Personal Development Center - NYC
Counseling and Personal Development Center - Westchester
(212) 346-1526
(914) 773-3710
Dean of Students - Pleasantville
Dean of Students - NYC
Dean of Students - White Plains
(914) 773-3351
(212) 346-1306
(914) 422-4146
Equity and Title IX Compliance Office  (212) 346-1310
Human Resources (914) 923-2730
International Students and Scholars Office (212) 346-1368
Learning Center - NYC
Learning Center - Westchester
(212) 346-1329
(914) 773-3721
Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs - NYC
Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs - Westchester
(212) 346-1546
(914) 773-3628
Pace Women’s Justice Center (914) 287-0739
Residential Life - Pleasantville
Residential Life - NYC
Residential Life - White Plains
(914) 597-8777
(212) 346-1295
(914) 422-4136
Sexual Assault Education & Prevention Specialist - NYC
Sexual Assault Education & Prevention Specialist - Westchester
(212) 346-1931
(212) 346-1931
Student Accessibility Services - NYC
Student Accessibility Services - Westchester
(212) 346-1526
(914) 773-3710
Student Services and Campus Affairs (Law School) (914) 422-4107
University Health Care - NYC
University Health Care - Westchester
(212) 346-1600
(914) 773-3760
In The Community (Westchester)
Hope’s Door Domestic Violence Shelter/Support (888) 438-8700
The Loft: LGBTQA Community Services Center (914) 948-2932
My Sister’s Place Domestic Violence Center/Support (800) 298-7233
Victims Assistance Services (914) 345-9111
In The Community (NYC)  
Safe Horizon (Victim Assistance) (212) 577-7700
Sanctuary for Families Domestic Violence Shelter (212) 349-6009
Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program (SAVI) (212) 423-2140
The LGBT Community Center (212) 620-7310

PRIVACY STATEMENT: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits communication about a student experiencing a health or safety emergency. Observation of a student’s behavior are not FERPA protected. With appropriate consideration for student privacy, this information should be shared with University personnel.

Additional and more detailed information on how to be of help to students can also be found in our Just In Case app in the MyPace app.

View a printable version of the Red Card (Westchester) (PDF) and the Red Card (NYC) (PDF)