At the May 2015 Faculty Development Day session on responding to student mental health problems, several questions were posed by faculty concerning how they must respond to student threats of self-harm. Specifically, there were questions about whether such self-disclosure on students’ parts should be kept confidential, or are faculty members mandated reporters of such things, even if the student asks that the professor not say anything? Are faculty liable when students follow through on threats to hurt or kill themselves?
Facilitators Will Meek and Karen Eifler recorded the questions and brought them to the University’s general counsel, Danielle Hermanny (pictured). The document available at this link provides fairly succinct yet detailed answers to those questions. The document has been vetted by outside legal counsel as well, but Hermanny cautions that this serves only as general guide, and every case is unique. If faculty have specific questions about responsibility or liability where student disclosures of intent to harm themselves are concerned, Hermanny invites them to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or x8715. For more information contact Karen Eifler at email@example.com.