Resources of the Dean of Students Office / SOS
Your responsibilities are not to diagnose or provide therapy; it is the development of a compassionate and forthright conversation that ultimately helps a student in trouble find understanding, support, and the proper therapeutic resources.
Facts about the services of the Dean of Students Office:
The Dean of Students Office exists to help students respond to both the unanticipated and stressful situations that may arise during the course of a semester, as well as other situations that impact a student's chances for staying in school and performing well academically. The Office also plays an important role in campus safety. The Office is staffed by the Dean and two Assistant Deans, one of whom also serves as the Student Ombudsman. The Dean is also responsible for the Student Conduct Office, Disability Resource Center and On Campus Transition Program.
Supporting Our Students (SOS) - SOS serves as the central point of information collection for students who appear to be distressed or are acting in ways that concern those around them. It also serves as a clearing house to direct students to a variety of other services and interventions. Referral to SOS may result in subsequent referral of that student to the Counseling Center, DRC, Student Health, Conduct, University Police Department (UPD), Academic Advising or a range of other services based on an assessment of the student's behavior and its causes. During regular office hours, SOS may be contacted by calling (904) 620‐1491. At other times, call UPD at (904) 620‐2800.
Behavior that should be reported to SOS may include:
- Expressed intent or attempt to harm self or others
- Disturbance or disruption of University and classroom functions
- Drug or alcohol overdose or abuse
- Inability to cope with the learning or living environment to the extent that an inordinate amount of resources are used to address the situation
- Inability to satisfy basic personal needs to the point that there is a reasonable possibility that serious physical harm or death might occur.
Homeless Student Program - A student who lacks a regular and adequate nighttime residence or whose primary nighttime residence is a public or private shelter designed to provide temporary residence, or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation, may be eligible for a tuition and fee exemptions, and may be eligible for other support services and accommodations. If you believe a student may be homeless, please refer them to the Dean of Students Office.
Students from Foster Care Program - Students who have been in foster care in Florida may qualify for a tuition waiver as well as support services. The Dean and Assistant Dean work with these students to help them develop a plan for their success, both in and out of the classroom.
Title IX Compliance Coordination - Title IX refers to gender-based discrimination and includes dating violence, sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct. The Dean of Students serves as the Title IX coordinator for Student Affairs. Any student who feels that they may have suffered from gender-based discrimination, whether it be as the result of interactions with another student, a faculty member or a staff person, should report that behavior to a University official. The Dean will work with the student to coordinate the provision of support services and respond to any such complaint.
Notification of student illness, injury or death - Please notify the Dean of Students Office in the event of a student's serious illness, injury or death. The Dean of Students will implement a set of procedures that have been developed in order to ease the burden on family members who are acting on behalf of the student when the student is unable to do so. The staff will also, upon request of the family or student, notify faculty of prolonged student absences and offer assistance in obtaining "incompletes" or a medical withdrawal if appropriate. For clarification, the office provides notification, and in some instances can provide documentation of the cause for the absence. However, the office does not excuse students from class. Only the faculty member can determine if the student can miss a class without penalty.
Mediation Program - If students or groups are in conflict and want to pursue resolution through mediation, they may visit the Dean of Students Office in order to request mediation services. Referrals are also received from Student Conduct, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Residence Life or the Student Ombudsman. Students can also apply to participate in mediation training and serve as peer mediators.
When working with a student:
- Avoid not responding. If you are not sure about how to respond, simply direct the student to the Dean of Students Office and let them know that you are sure they can help. If you are able, try to follow-up with the student to ask if they made it to the office and if they were helped.
- Avoid suggesting that the problem may straighten itself out over time. It is almost always better and easier to address and resolve them when they occur, rather than waiting for the situation to become more complex over time.
- Try not to act overwhelmed or shocked by what they are telling you. Many students feel as though they are the only one who has ever encountered a particular problem. In reality, they are never alone. Though they may feel that way, most students actually experience problems very similar to others. And remember, these are professionals who understand and treat every student who comes to the office with respect and sensitivity.