Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Student of Concern Committee?

We facilitate communication among campus departments about behavioral concerns in order to identify students who may be experiencing emotional distress. By building and maintaining a central repository of information, we are able to recommend interventions and strategies to connect students with resources and de-escalate any concerns in a timely manner.

Who is on the Student of Concern Committee?

To allow for collaboration and coordination of efforts, the committee is composed of individuals from many areas on campus. Committee members include representatives from the following areas:

  • Department of Police and Public Safety
  • Counseling and Consultation Services
  • Housing and Residential Services
  • Student Conduct
  • Disability Resource Center
  • Division of Student Affairs
  • Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Office of General Counsel
  • Registration and Records
Who can make a referral to the Student of Concern Committee?

NIU students, parents, faculty, staff and other community members should make a referral if they notice concerning or disruptive behavior.

What kinds of behavior should I report?

You should alert us to any behavior that is concerning. Early communication and intervention may help to prevent an escalation of behavior to dangerous levels.

Important: If you notice a student exhibiting behavior that poses an immediate threat of harm to self or others, call 911. You can also alert the Department of Police and Public Safety at their nonemergency number, 815-753-1212.

What should I do if I know someone who may need to be referred to the Student of Concern Committee?

If you believe that a student poses a threat of immediate harm to self or others, call 911. You can also alert the Department of Police and Public Safety at their nonemergency number, 815-753-1212.

If you notice concerning behavior with no immediate risk of harm, you should submit a referral

to us. You’ll be asked to provide information about the person of concern and a description of the concerning incident or behavior, along with your contact information.
We strongly encourage you to identify yourself when making a referral. Identifying yourself is helpful if the committee needs clarification or additional information.

You are our best resource because you’re familiar with the student or you have directly observed the concerning behavior. If you want a member of the team to contact you, please contact any of the team offices or email the team at SoCC@niu.edu. This email is not monitored 24/7. Please know it may take up to 72 hours for a response.
What happens to the information I send to the Student of Concern Committee?

We receive and prioritize the information, then immediately begin further review. You may be contacted for clarification and additional information (if you included your contact information in the report).

Often, the initial report is just one piece of the puzzle. A behavior that someone observes can turn out to be an isolated incident and no cause for further concern, or it may be an indication of a larger concern that needs to be addressed. We try to get a complete view of a student's behavior patterns before making any recommendations for action.
Is the information kept confidential?

All information received remains confidential to the extent permissible by law. If you have questions about the confidentiality of any information, please contact the Student of Concern Committee.

I’m not really sure this is a big deal. Will the person get in trouble?

Our process is not meant to punish. It identifies those at risk of harm to self or others so that the underlying conditions causing their behavior can be addressed. An incident that appears minor to you may be part of a larger pattern of which you’re unaware. Early communication among key offices and individuals can help identify concerns before they get bigger and more difficult to manage.

Our goal is to promote the health and safety of our campus through early intervention. When we’re able to understand a situation, we can attempt to resolve it before it escalates and someone "gets in trouble." We take into account both the concerns of the campus and the needs of the student about whom concerns are expressed. Whether the information will adversely affect the individual's student or employment status will depend on the situation.

When a situation is identified and reported early enough, it can often be resolved without the need for disciplinary action or criminal prosecution. If you’re unsure whether or not you should say something, report it. Trust your instincts.

What if I’m wrong about the person?

When you report a concern based on observed behavior, such as a verbal exchange or hostile interaction, you’re acting in the best interest of that student and the community—not making a judgment about the student. We don’t expect for reporters to make judgments about whether their observations are "right" or "wrong." Let us weigh all the information available, gather further data as needed and determine the best course of action. The university does not permit retaliation against an individual who reports concerning or troubling behavior in good faith.

Will the person I refer be able to know that I sent the form? Can I report a concern anonymously?

Typically, the student will not be aware they were referred to us. We respect all information we receive and treat it confidentially. We collect information to determine the level of risk, if any, and determine a management plan, if necessary. We then task existing campus departments with carrying out the plan.

We strongly encourage you to identify yourself when making a referral. We attempt to handle all matters discreetly, but cannot guarantee the student(s) involved will be unable to determine the source of the report. The university will not attempt to determine the identity of an anonymous reporter unless there is an immediate threat of harm, or the reporting system is being abused. The university does not permit retaliation against an individual who reports concerning or troubling behavior in good faith.

Will I find out what happens?

Privacy and confidentiality laws apply to the situations we handle. When appropriate, a committee member may inform you of the results of a referral you made.

Does FERPA prohibit faculty and staff from sharing student information with the team?

No. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits sharing information with university employees who have a legitimate educational interest.

What authority does the Student of Concern Committee have and what can it do?

We do not enact sanctions or administer policy regarding referrals. However, we may take the following actions:

  • Communicate with other offices and individuals on campus to seek information on the current behavior of the individual.
  • Share information with team members to evaluate the potential risk to the individual or community.
  • Develop strategies to manage potentially harmful or disruptive behavior to protect the safety and rights of both the individual and the community.
  • Assist faculty or staff in developing a plan of action to minimize the threat and assist the person of concern in obtaining necessary resources.
  • Coordinate and share information, as allowed by law or university policy, with other offices on campus that may take actions such as:
    • Evaluation for immediate emergency response (by the police or other outside agencies).
    • Provision of continued support to the individual, such as academic advising, Dean of Students, and Counseling and Consultation Services.
    • Emergency notification of others, including parents or guardians.
What is my duty as a member of the Northern Illinois University community?

As a member of our community, we encourage you to share your concerns with the Student of Concern Committee about any student who displays a potential risk of harm to self or others, any other concerning behavior or emotional distress.

Contact Us

Student of Concern Committee

Jeanne Meyer
Committe chair
jeanne@niu.edu
815-753-1571

Kelly Olson
Assistant dean of students
kolson9@niu.edu
815-753-6707

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