Staff Resources

Intervention Policy for Students at Risk


The University of Guelph is a community committed to education and learning. It cares deeply about the physical and mental health of all of its students and strives to foster a supportive community wherein students can succeed personally and academically. Therefore, health, wellness, and counselling services are available on campus to support students who may be experiencing personal difficulties.

What Can I Do?

The University has adopted the following response model (A.L.E.R.T.) for staff and faculty to use when working with students who are experiencing psychological issues.

The ALERT Model

A.L.E.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:


Signs and Symptoms

Signs of Personal Difficulty

  • indicates that he/she has problems affecting academic performance
  • displays unusual behaviour or exhibits a notable change in behaviour
  • identifies serious problems or losses in relationships
  • acts distraught, confused or disoriented
  • tells you "secrets" that no one else knows and that you must not share
  • exhibits behaviour that is threatening to self or others
  • is disruptive in class or living environment
  • makes references to suicide
  • is abusing drugs or alcohol

What is a Crisis?

Identifying Crisis Situations

To determine a crisis situation, note if the incident:

Responding to Students in Crisis or at Risk

The University of Guelph is a community committed to education and learning. There may be times however, when students experience circumstances that may negatively affect their behavior, their ability to engage in the demands of university life including coursework, or may raise concerns regarding their safety and the safety of others. 

Student At Risk Protocol

The student at risk protocol is managed by the Student at Risk Team: S.A.R.T.

S.A.R.T. is a group of professional staff who are responsible for the following when dealing with specific student cases:

Emergency Management Team

Some crisis may be systemic, in that they affect the whole community. If this type of crisis arises The Emergency Management Team becomes active in response; examples include: 

Training and Consultation

Counselling Services provides training and consulting to faculty in administrative services (housing, support staff, athletics). Training includes: workshops, presentations and individual consultations in the area of mental health to help participants better understand and deal with students who are experiencing psychological/emotional difficulties.

Dealing with Disruptive Behaviour

Disruptive Behaviour

What is Disruptive Behaviour?

  • verbal threats
  • physical threats
  • damage to University or other people's property
  • misconduct resulting from drug or alcohol abuse
  • persistent and unreasonable demands for time and attention
  • habitual interference with the work or classroom environment

What is NOT Disruptive Behaviour?

  • cultural differences
  • non-threatening eccentricity or 'weirdness'
  • most disagreements or differences of opinion


Community Resources:

Dealing with a Student in Personal Difficulty

Students experiencing difficulties of an emotional nature often turn to you, the faculty and staff for support or counselling. These problems may be related to transition, family relationships, sexuality, grief and loss, abuse or any number of issues. At times they may require immediate attention. Visit Signs and Symptoms for more information on identifying students in crisis.