Response to University Tragedy
How to respond when a student, faculty, or staff suffers a death, tragedy, or accident
First and foremost, please do not hesitate to call Dr. James Deegear, 979-845-4427, Interim Senior Director of Counseling and Mental Health Care, or Angela Winkler, 979-845-3113, with Student Assistance Services to help guide you through this process.
Suggestions for the group impacted by the tragedy:
- Share the information that is known.
- Please understand that with social media and other forms of communication, we do not always have all of the information. In the case of a death, the family needs to be notified before information can be released.
- Offer a future gathering space that may include:
- A place to relax and feel supported.
- Structured activities (letter writing to family, sharing of stories, pet therapy, etc.). Please contact Student Assistance Services regarding the process for sending letters to family.
- Possibly inviting different professionals to help facilitate a discussion related to the grief process, such as a counselor from CAPS, someone that is faith based and connected to the impacted group, and/or someone that is directly related to the group whose presence would be helpful.
- Share resources. These university departments play key roles:
- Student Assistance Services (SAS): SAS offers support and guidance. Though they do not offer university excused absences, they can help guide the process of communicating with professors. They also help to connect with CAPS.
- Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
- CAPS has counselors available during regular work hours (8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Friday) for scheduled appointments as well as crisis intervention counselors if needed.
- Helpline (979) 845-2700 is an after-hours mental health service that operates during the academic year.
- CAPS counselors can go out to groups to help process grief and loss reactions upon request.
- Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT): Anytime that the University Police Department is called regarding a student accident, hospitalization, and/or death, a member of the CIRT team responds and shares campus resources to those impacted.
These Grief Guidelines can help you in your leadership role.