University Policy Number 1121
Categorized: General Policies
Responsible Office: Dean of Students
Related Law & Policy:
This procedure pertains to all situations involving a financially dependent student where there exists a substantial likelihood that the student will cause, in the near future, serious harm to himself/herself or others.
The evidence employed is recent behavior or any other relevant information. Also, evidence that the student may suffer serious harm due to his/her lack of capacity to protect himself/herself from harm or to provide for his/her basic human needs will be considered.
II. POLICY STATEMENT
To describe the specific procedures involved in the university’s compliance with Virginia statute CHAPTER 441, § 23-9.2:3.
The procedure pertains to all CAPS and SHS professional staff involved in clinical consultation and/or direct service delivery to Mason students. The procedure also identifies the role of the Dean of Students (or the Dean’s designee) in relation to the parental notification process.
In accordance with language of Chapter 441, § 23-9.2:3 of the Code of Virginia (in italics below) which identifies conditions of parental notification related to a dependent student’s danger to self or others, when … it is determined that there exists a substantial likelihood that a student will in the near future cause serious harm to himself or others as evidenced by recent behavior or any other relevant information or suffer serious harm due to his lack of capacity to protect himself from harm or to provide for his basic human needs…” the following actions will be taken by CAPS and/or SHS professional staff and by the Dean of Students (or the Dean’s designee):
- Assuming the student is able to accurately understand communication from CAPS and/or SHS staff, the student will be informed that his or her behavior is consistent with criteria outlined by law for parental notification and that such notification will be made by university officials.
- The student will be informed that the university’s standard parental notification procedure entails communication with parents by the Dean of Students (or the Dean’s designee). If the student is not able to accurately comprehend communication due to his or her mental condition then steps will be taken consistent with # 5 (below) and parental communication will be made by the Dean of Students (or the Dean’s designee).
- CAPS and/or SHS staff will inform the Dean of Students (or the Dean’s designee) about the specific behaviors which meet criteria for parental notification. The Dean of Students (or the Dean’s designee) will proceed accordingly. Although a release is not required, CAPS and/or SHS will seek to obtain one in order to aid in preserving the helping relationship.
- The standard content conveyed to a student’s parents shall reflect 1) a description of student’s behaviors that meet criteria for parental notification and 2) a description of actions that the university is taking to address risks posed by the student’s behaviors.
- CAPS and/or SHS staff will make notations in the student’s counseling and/or medical record reflecting 1) specific behaviors which meet criteria for parental notification, 2) the specific process of parental notification that has been selected, 3) the rationale for the selection of said process and 4) the date and time that such responsibility for notification has been discharged to the Dean of Students.
- When a student meets criteria for parental notification there is one exception which would reverse the parental notification requirement: As per language contained in HB 1005 … “notification may be withheld if the student’s treating physician or treating clinical psychologist has made a part of the student’s record a written statement that, in the exercise of his [sic] professional judgment, the notification would be reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to the student or another person.” Accordingly, when CAPS and/or SHS staff determines that parental notification is contraindicated, then such determination shall be noted in the student’s medical and/or psychological record with clear indication of the anticipated harm that would be caused as a result of parental notification.
- With any instances of exception to the parental notification requirement, the Dean of Students (or the Dean’s designee) shall be informed by CAPS and/or SHS staff of the student’s identity, the specific behaviors that meet criteria for parental notification and the determination of the exception to the notification requirement.
V. EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPROVAL
This policy is effective May 7, 2008. This policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.
Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President
Peter N. Stearns
Board of Visitors
Date approved: May 7, 2008