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Student Crisis Response Protocol

Royal Roads University Procedure

Effective Date: 
November 1, 2013
Revision Date: 
May 23, 2017

Crises are an unfortunate part of human existence. A crisis is defined as a traumatic event that occurs outside the norm of daily human experience, such as a medical emergency, assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault, suicide or suicide attempt, kidnapping, death, or serious criminal activities, such as those involving weapons, social unrest, natural disaster, or fire. When a crisis occurs that involves one or more students on or off campus, it is critical that the university responds quickly and appropriately. This Protocol describes the process that will normally be employed to address crises involving students. Procedures in the event of the death of a student are also described in a separate document.

1. Identifying a Student Crisis

Staff and faculty members who become aware of a crisis involving a student are expected to alert a member of the CARE Team.  This team generally includes the Student Counsellor, the Manager, Student Success, the Manager, Student Engagement and the Director, Student Services. The emergency contact line for the CARE Team is: 250-391-2600 ext. (8514), or 8514 from any on-campus phone.  In the event of a crisis, Security Services can be contacted immediately, and they will then contact the Manager, Student Engagement, or the Emergency On-Call Staff Member.

The responding staff member will immediately inform the Director, Student Services, and the Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services. The Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services will coordinate internal communication.

2. Convening the Student Crisis Management Team

As soon as she or he is made aware of a crisis, the Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services, (or designate), will determine whether a Student Crisis Management Team should be convened. This decision will be based upon examination of the following questions:

  • Does the incident involve serious injury or threat of serious injury or danger to a student or others?
  • Does the incident pose a threat of serious disruption to university activities?
  • Does the incident involve an international student or a student studying outside of Canada?
  • Should the media be informed?
  • Is the university exposed to risk of legal claims against it?
  • Are the students’ family members involved?
  • Are there other features that make the incident volatile?

The Student Crisis Management Team will be appointed by the Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services. Members will be selected on a case-by-case basis to best respond to the nature of each crisis. The Student Crisis Management Team will normally include the Director, Student Services, and will not usually exceed five members.

3. Responsibilities of the Student Crisis Management Team

The specific tasks of the Student Crisis Management Team and the order in which they might be executed cannot be prescribed for a crisis. A check list is provided in Appendix A that may be used as appropriate. The Student Crisis Management Team is charged with the general responsibility to:

  • Select a Team Lead who will coordinate the work of the Team.
  • Clarify issues, define terms, and identify additional information needed.
  • In the event that the crisis involves an international student, or a student studying outside of Canada, coordinate culturally protocols.
  • Facilitate accurate and efficient flow of information. Appoint a chief spokesperson to communicate with the Executive and Community Relations and Advancement. Media inquiries will be managed by Community Relations and Advancement.
  • Identify individuals or groups affected by the situation.
  • Consider privacy issues – information will only be released on a “need-to-know” basis and in compliance with applicable legislation.
  • Plan a sensitive and coordinated response to the people affected by the event and university community as a whole, considering the specific nature of the crisis and the short and long term needs that may arise as a result. This includes providing support for staff and faculty members who were directly or indirectly involved.
  • Assign responsibility for carrying out specific action.
  • Inform appropriate authorities and facilitate the university’s cooperation should any external group become involved (e.g. RCMP).
  • Collectively review the response after the crisis and provide a written report to the Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services, normally within 10 days of the precipitating incident that summarizes the crisis, the response, and any recommendations for changes to university policies, procedures and practices.

4. Learning from Experience

The Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services will review the report of the Crisis Management Team, normally within 10 days of receiving this report, and initiate responses where appropriate.

Once each fiscal year, the Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services will convene a review committee to review this protocol and other relevant policies, procedures and practices to maintain and enhance the university’s ability to respond most effectively and efficiently in crisis situations.