Crisis Training for Residence Life

Case Studies


Case 1: You are awakened by a knock on the door. One of your residents informs you he has found another student on the floor of the bathroom. He appears to be unconscious. When you arrive on the scene, you find several students have gathered. The resident is lying on floor and appears to be unresponsive but breathing. Efforts by you and other students to awaken him prove futile. One of the students observes that he saw several of the victims friends bring him back to the residence hall about half an hour ago.


Case 2: You receive a call from an RA requesting your help one floor above. Upon reaching the hall, you are told by the RA there was a disturbance heard earlier in one of the rooms. Residents have reported angry remarks being exchanged between one of the female residents and a male guest in the room. Additionally, several students say that it sounded like things were thrown or someone was pushed around the room. When the RA knocked on the door, the male said everything was okay and to go away. A repeated effort by the RA to gain information resulted in the female resident responding tearfully that she would be okay and to please let them work this out.

Case 3: One of your residents tells you his roommate is acting unlike himself. He has missed several days of classes. He is staying in bed a lot during the day and up late at nights. The student relates his roommate has done poorly on several of his initial course exams. He seems to remain active in his marching band activities and is going out late at night with friends. The student reports that his roommate’s parents has called and expressed their concern about their son. They want to know what is going on. The student informs you that he has given them your number.

Case 4: Two residents from a temporary triple room come to you and express concern about the health of their roommate. Both suspect she may be engaging in eating disordered behaviors. Not only does she eat very little, but both have seen her apparently throwing up after coming home from dates. Recently she has taken up smoking cigarettes, defending the practice as a way of avoiding the "freshman 15". The two residents have grown increasingly concerned because they have found their roommate crying and despondent on several occasions this past week.

Case 5: Loud noises from a room on the hall has attracted the attention of several students, one whom comes to inform you. Over the sound of a loud stereo, several males can be heard arguing and using profanity. When the door is opened, you observe 7 students in the room, 5 of whom are males. There are open beer and liquor containers around the room. During your attempts to get identification, you find that the woman lying curled up on the bed is unresponsive. She does not move even when prodded; Her clothing is disheveled. One of the males angrily tells you to leave her alone, that she is just a deep sleeper.

Case 6: You are paged as the on-call staff member to a room on a floor other than your own. At the door you are met by a frantic student telling you to do something to help her roommate. Upon returning from a party after a football game, she found her roommate sitting on the bed crying, her face swollen and red. Her arms also appear to be bruised. The student becomes more agitated and pulls away from you when you try to talk with her. Her roommate tells you she thinks the student has been assaulted. Other students are now gathering outside in the hall wanting to know what has happened.


Discussion Questions

1. What are the key concerns in the situation?

2. In what order do you think the above concerns need to be addressed?

3. In what way, if any, would you utilize the Division of Housing crisis protocol and procedures?

4. Who and what are your resources to address the immediate situation?

5. What university and/or community resources may be helpful in the short and long term resolution to this situation?

Wayne D. Griffin, Ph.D.02/23/01