The Charger Assessment Team (ChAT)

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Cypress College is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive, and supportive campus environment where all members of the academic community can thrive.

ChAT provides support, assistance, and resources to students who may be facing various challenges that affect their academic, personal, or emotional well-being. Furthermore, it proactively identifies, assesses, and addresses student behaviors of concern that may pose a risk to the safety and well-being of individuals or the broader campus community.

ChAT Cares

Choose this ChAT Cares button to refer a student in distress due to circumstances such as academic difficulties, feelings of isolation, family or personal challenges, etc.

ChAT Conduct

Choose the appropriate conduct button to report a student violating the Standards of Student Conduct and Discipline (BP 5500) such as disruptive behavior, cheating, plagiarism, causing or threatening injury or abuse, willful misconduct, etc.

ChAT Threat Assessment

Choose this button to report student behavior that is aggressive (e.g. harm to self) or may be harmful to the campus community.

About ChAT

Under the leadership of the Vice President of Student Services, the Charger Assessment Team (ChAT, aka BIT) serves as the centralized body for discussion, appropriate intervention, and coordinated action regarding disruptive, problematic, or concerning student behavior.  Our goal is to support students who may be in distress or whose behavior is of concern to others before their behavior escalates.

Our mission is to support the safety and well-being of the campus community by employing a proactive and collaborative approach to identify, assess, and manage behavioral concerns.

ChAT Team Members

  • Adrienne Sanchez — Case Manager, ChAT Co-Chair
  • Anna Spencer-Lonetti – Mental Health Professional
  • Celeste Phelps – Director of DSS, ChAT Co-Chair
  • Craig Lee – Director of Campus Safety
  • Dave Okawa – Director of Student Life and Leadership
  • Joselyn Diaz – Maxient and Conduct Resource Facilitator
  • Marla McBride – Director of Health Services
  • Dr. Paul de Dios – VP of Student Services and Title IX
  • Dr. Troy Davis – Dean of Counseling & Student Development
  • Virgil Adams – Professor of Human Services

How to Refer or Report a Concern

Immediate or Urgent Concern

If there is an urgent need for assistance, please call 911 or Campus Safety at 47387 (on campus) or (714) 484-7387 if you are not using a campus phone.

When to Refer a Student to ChAT and What to Look For

Different signs of distress could raise concerns. These may be behaviors that you observe or that are reported to you by other students, faculty, staff, or visitors.  Examples of circumstances that would be appropriate for a referral and outreach may include, but are not limited to, instances where a student:

  • Appears to be struggling academically or is not attending classes regularly
  • Reports feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable transitioning to Cypress College or a veteran returning to college
  • Experiences feelings of isolation, loneliness, or disconnection from peers
  • Writes about threats to harm self or others
  • Going through family problems, relationship problems/a break-up
  • Experiences the loss of a loved one
  • Lacks a social support network
  • Constantly asks for help with personal problems that are beyond the scope of your role or expertise
  • Is consistently or chronically anxious, stressed, or depressed
  • May otherwise benefit from a personal referral or other personalized outreach to connect the student with support resources available on campus

Employee Guide to Helping Students

Supporting the Well-Being and Success of Students

As college employees, you play a crucial role in supporting the overall well-being and success of students. Here are some guidelines to assist you in effectively helping students.

1. Establish Positive Relationships:

  • Foster positive relationships with students based on trust, respect, and open communication.
  • Show genuine interest in their academic progress, personal growth, and well-being.

2. Be Approachable and Accessible:

  • Make yourself approachable and accessible to students by maintaining regular office hours and being responsive to their inquiries.
  • Create a welcoming and inclusive environment where students feel comfortable seeking support.

3. Practice Active Listening:

  • Listen attentively to students’ concerns, questions, and challenges.
  • Show empathy, patience, and understanding while they share their experiences.
  • Avoid interrupting or jumping to conclusions.

4. Create a Supportive Environment:

  • Foster a supportive and inclusive classroom or work environment where students feel safe expressing themselves.
  • Encourage collaboration, respect, and constructive feedback among peers.

5. Recognize Signs of Distress:

  • Be aware of signs of distress, such as significant changes in behavior, appearance, academic performance, or sudden withdrawal.
  • Notice if a student frequently expresses feelings of anxiety, stress, or hopelessness.

6. Refer Students to Appropriate Resources:

7. Respect Confidentiality:

  • Maintain confidentiality and respect student privacy.
  • Adhere to the policies and regulations governing the disclosure of sensitive information.

8. Collaborate with Colleagues:

  • Communicate and collaborate with colleagues, including counselors and other student support services.
  • Share relevant information and concerns appropriately to ensure a comprehensive approach to student support.

9. Provide Guidance and Mentorship:

  • Offer guidance and mentorship to students by providing advice, sharing experiences, and helping them explore their academic and career goals.
  • Help students develop important skills such as time management, study techniques, and problem-solving strategies.

10. Advocate for Student Well-being:

  • Advocate for student well-being within Cypress College by supporting policies and initiatives that promote a healthy and supportive environment.
  • Be proactive in addressing any barriers or challenges that hinder student success.

11. Continuous Professional Development:

  • Engage in professional development opportunities to enhance your understanding of student needs, mental health, diversity and inclusion, and effective support strategies.
  • Stay informed about relevant research, best practices, and evolving trends in student support.

Remember, each student is unique, and their needs may vary. It is important to approach each situation with empathy and flexibility. If you encounter complex or severe issues, consult with appropriate colleagues or refer students to the appropriate support services at Cypress College or make a Care and Support Referral through ChAT. Your support and guidance can have a profound impact on a student’s overall well-being and academic success.

Responding to Mental Health Emergencies

Mental health emergencies can arise on college campuses, and it is essential for employees to be prepared to respond effectively.

1. Recognize the Signs of a Mental Health Crisis:

  • Be familiar with common signs of a mental health emergency, such as severe emotional distress, suicidal ideation, self-harm, disorientation, or aggressive behavior.
  • Trust your instincts if you sense that a student is in immediate danger or poses a threat to themselves or others.

2. Stay Calm and Ensure Safety:

  • Remain calm and composed during the situation. Your calmness can help de-escalate the individual’s distress.
  • Prioritize safety for yourself, the student, and others in the vicinity. Remove any immediate threats or dangerous objects if it is safe to do so.

3. Assess the Urgency of the Situation:

  • Evaluate the severity and urgency of the mental health emergency.
  • If the situation is life-threatening or immediately dangerous, call 911 (and Campus Safety X47387) without delay.

4. Engage in Active Listening:

  • Provide a safe and non-judgmental space for the individual to express their emotions and concerns.
  • Show empathy, validate their feelings, and avoid dismissive or minimizing responses.

5. Involve Appropriate Campus Services:

  • Contact the Health Center for mental health emergencies, Campus Safety, or call 911.
  • Provide them with as much relevant information as possible, including the student’s name, location, and a brief description of the situation.

6. Encourage Professional Help:

  • If appropriate, encourage the student to seek professional help from mental health providers on campus or in the community.
  • Offer assistance in contacting the Health Center or accompany the student to the appropriate resource if they are willing.

7. Maintain Confidentiality and Privacy:

  • Respect the student’s privacy and maintain confidentiality to the extent possible, adhering to applicable laws and college policies.
  • Only disclose relevant information on a need-to-know basis to ensure the student’s safety and well-being.

8. Document the Incident:

  • Document the details of the incident, including the date, time, location, individuals involved, and actions taken.
  • This documentation can be useful for follow-up, reporting, and supporting the student’s ongoing care.

9. Self-Care for Staff and Faculty:

  • Recognize that responding to mental health emergencies can be emotionally challenging.
  • Seek support and debrief with colleagues, supervisors, or mental health professionals to process your own emotions and reactions.

10. Continuous Training and Professional Development:

  • Engage in regular training and professional development to enhance your knowledge of mental health, crisis intervention, and effective communication techniques.
  • Stay informed about campus policies and procedures regarding mental health emergencies.

Identifying troubling behavior in college students

Identifying troubling behavior in college students is crucial for early intervention and support. While it is important to avoid making assumptions or stigmatizing individuals, being aware of potential signs can help identify students who may be in distress.

1. Academic Changes:

  • Consistent decline in academic performance, missed assignments, or a sudden drop in grades.
  • Frequent absences from class or a significant decrease in participation.

2. Emotional and Behavioral Changes:

  • Noticeable changes in mood, such as persistent sadness, irritability, or emotional outbursts.
  • Social withdrawal, isolation, or avoiding interactions with peers.
  • Excessive anxiety, panic attacks, or expressions of excessive worry and fear.
  • Substance abuse or increased use of alcohol or drugs.

3. Physical Signs:

  • Changes in appearance, personal hygiene, or significant weight loss or gain.
  • Frequent fatigue or lack of energy.
  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or oversleeping.

4. Disruptive Behavior:

  • Frequent angry or aggressive outbursts.
  • Engaging in self-harm or expressing suicidal thoughts.
  • Exhibiting behavior that poses a threat to oneself or others.

5. Changes in Communication:

  • Expressions of hopelessness, helplessness, or feelings of being trapped.
  • Verbalizing thoughts of suicide or making statements that suggest a desire to harm oneself or others.
  • Giving away possessions or making final arrangements.

It is important to note that these signs may not always indicate a mental health issue, and it is crucial to approach each situation with care, empathy, and respect. If you notice troubling behavior in a student, it is recommended to refer them to the appropriate campus resources, such as the Health Center, or Counseling, who can provide professional assistance and support.

Interventions for troubling behavior:

Interventions for troubling behaviors in college students can help address underlying issues, provide support, and promote their well-being and success.

1. Open and Non-Judgmental Communication:

  • Create a safe and non-judgmental space for students to express their concerns and feelings.
  • Actively listen to their experiences and validate their emotions.
  • Encourage them to share their challenges, anxieties, or distress.

2. Referral to the Health Center:

  • Connect students with campus mental health professionals.
  • Provide information about available resources and explain the benefits of seeking professional help.
  • Encourage students to schedule appointments and follow through with counseling sessions.

3. Academic Support:

  • Offer academic assistance to students struggling academically.
  • Provide guidance on study skills, time management, or seeking tutoring services.
  • Collaborate with academic counselors to develop strategies to address their specific academic challenges.

4. Collaborate with Campus Resources:

  • Involve appropriate campus resources, such as Disability Support Services, Academic Counseling, etc. to address specific needs.
  • Work together with student services professionals, faculty, and staff to coordinate interventions and provide comprehensive support.

5. Crisis Intervention:

  • In the case of immediate risk or crisis, follow appropriate emergency response protocols and involve Campus Safety or emergency services.
  • Provide immediate support and assistance while ensuring the safety of the student and those around them.

6. Ongoing Monitoring and Follow-up:

  • Maintain regular check-ins with students to monitor their progress and provide ongoing support.
  • Follow up on referrals to ensure students are engaging with the recommended resources and getting the help they need.

Identifying disruptive behavior:

Identifying disruptive behavior in college students is essential for maintaining a safe and conducive learning environment for all. While it’s important to approach each situation with empathy and understanding, being aware of potential signs can help address and manage disruptive behavior effectively.

1. Aggressive or Hostile Behavior:

  • Frequent verbal or physical confrontations with peers, faculty, or staff.
  • Threatening or intimidating behavior that creates a sense of fear or discomfort in others.
  • Engaging in bullying or harassment towards others.

2. Chronic Disregard for Rules and Policies:

  • Repeatedly violating college policies, such as academic integrity, code of conduct, or classroom guidelines.
  • Ignoring instructions or guidelines provided by faculty or staff members.
  • Displaying a consistent lack of respect for authority figures.

3. Constant Disruption in Classroom Settings:

  • Persistently interrupting or talking over others during lectures or discussions.
  • Displaying disruptive behaviors, such as excessive noise-making, distracting activities, or refusal to follow class rules.
  • Inappropriate use of technology during class time, including excessive texting or browsing social media.

5. Intentional Disruption of Campus Activities:

  • Interfering with or sabotaging campus events, clubs, or organizations.
  • Engaging in activities that disrupt the normal functioning of campus facilities or services.
  • Deliberately causing disturbances.

Steps for managing disruptive behavior:

1. Document Incidents: Maintain a record of disruptive incidents, including dates, times, details of the behavior, and any witnesses present.

2. Communicate Expectations: Clearly communicate and reinforce the expected behavior and consequences to students through syllabi, classroom discussions, or college policies.

3. Address Behavior Directly: When witnessing disruptive behavior, address it promptly and privately if possible. Express concerns and provide constructive feedback to the student about their behavior.

4. Involve Appropriate Campus Resources: If the disruptive behavior persists or escalates, involve relevant campus resources, such as the Dean of Counseling (conduct office), to seek guidance and support in managing the situation.

5. Provide Supportive Interventions: Offer support and resources to students who may be struggling with personal or academic challenges that contribute to their disruptive behavior. Encourage them to seek help from counseling services.

6. Follow College Policies and Procedures: Adhere to established college policies and procedures when addressing disruptive behavior. Ensure consistency and fairness in the application of consequences for violations.

7. Maintain Personal Safety: Prioritize personal safety and the safety of others when dealing with potentially volatile or threatening situations. If necessary, involve Campus Safety or law enforcement authorities.

ChAT Policies and Procedures Manual

Additional Resources

Employee Resources

Student Resources