ICare Team for Students in Distress

ICare Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ICare Team

The Ithaca College Awareness Response and Education Team is a small, confidential group of campus officials who respond to concerns regarding the well-being of individual students and the safety of the campus community.  ICare Processes aim to:

  • Provide a centralized place for faculty/staff, students, and family members to communicate concerns.
  • Provide education to the campus community on risk issues and resources.
  • Proactively address issues students are experiencing to promote their academic success and overall well-being.

What should I do if I have a concern about a student?

Please review the student Behaviors of Concern list; if a student is demonstrating a concerning behavior or signs of distress, you are encouraged to make an ICare Referral.  

If your concerns for a student do not meet the Behaviors of Concern criteria, consider the following options:

  1. Consult with CAPS at (607) 274-3136.  Talking to a counselor can help you clarify your thoughts and feelings about a student, assess the seriousness of a situation, and identify an appropriate follow-up plan for the student.
  2. If you are a faculty member, consult with your Associate Dean.  The Dean's Office may work with faculty and department chairs to assess concerns and determine what next steps should be taken.
  3. If you are a student, speak to a professional staff member such as an Academic Advisor, Residence Director/Advisor, or Counseling Center staff.
  4. Send an email to icare@ithaca.edu to begin communication with the ICare Team regarding your concerns for a student. An ICare team member can give you feedback as to whether an ICare Referral is warranted or another intervention should be considered.
  5. Consult with the ICare Coordinator and Case Manager, Christina McMahon, at (607) 274-7731 or cmcmahon@ithaca.edu

What if my concern is an emergency?

Call the Office of Public Safety at (607) 274-3333 if a student:

  • Requires immediate medical attention or hospitalization
  • Is unmanageable (i.e. aggressive, significantly inappropriate, out of touch with reality, unable to care for him/herself).
  • Is threatening you or someone else.
  • Is threatening suicide or self-harm.
  • Is threatening you by email, mail, or phone.

What if I am concerned about protecting a student's privacy?

The ICare Team gives thoughtful consideration to intervene in a manner that protects the privacy of students while balancing the need to create a college environment that is safe and conducive to student learning and academic success.

Under FERPA, college officials may release information from a student's educational record internally to any other college official who has a legitimate educational interest in the information contained in the record.  No student consent or notice is needed, and no documentation is required.  

The ICare Team does NOT have access to a student's medical or counseling record; a student can sign a Release of Information to share such information. 

What happens after completing the ICare Referral?

You will get a confirmation email that your ICare Referral was received and you may be contacted by an ICare Team Member for more information.   The ICare Team reviews all ICare Referrals and determines appropriate interventions.  You can contact the ICare Coordinator, Christina McMahon, at (607) 274-7731 or cmcmahon@ithaca.edu to request an update on a referral you submitted.  However, to protect a student's privacy, information will be shared selectively with the student's best interest in mind. 

ICare referrals indicating a pattern of concerning behaviors or consistent decline in a student's functioning may suggest an increased risk level and warrant a higher level of intervention.

The student who is the subject of the ICare Referral will typically be contacted and asked to meet in person with the Case Manager, their residence director, or a staff/faculty member who has a preexisting relationship with the student. The purpose of this meeting is to express concern for the student, understand what is causing the student distress, and offer the student connection to helpful resources.   

If I am a student who is the subject of an ICare referral, do I have to reply and agree to a meeting request by an Ithaca College staff member?

Yes!  Because we care about your well-being and want you to be successful as an Ithaca College student, it is important that you respond to a meeting request made by Ithaca College staff/faculty member.  Failure to respond or agree to a meeting request in a timely fashion is considered a violation of the Student Code of Conduct (see below) and may result in judicial action taken against you.

7.1.2.3.2 Compliance with College Officials* [III.B]
  1. Students are required to...comply with the reasonable requests of any College employee, including, but not limited to, Campus Center staff, Residential Life staff, Dining Services staff, and Student Auxiliary Safety Patrol (SASP) members acting in the performance of their duties. [III.B.1]

What happens to the reported information?

The ICare Team is responsible for maintaining private records of ICare referrals and interventions; these records are kept separate from a student's academic record.  Record keeping serves to identify and monitor a pattern of concerns over time and may help identify increased safety risk.  

Should I tell a student that I have made an ICare Referral?

A student may be more comfortable and receptive to help if they know that ICare Referral has been made, and they can expect to be contacted by an ICare Team Member.  Being transparent with a student about your concerns and the ICare process could help a student feel cared for and relieved that help is on the way.

On the other hand, a student may become anxious and guarded if they receive an unexpected phone call or email from an ICare Team Member requesting to meet with them.     

You may not have the opportunity or feel that it is appropriate to share your concerns directly with a student before submitting an ICare Referral.  Referring individuals do have the option of remaining anonymous to the student they are reporting.   Please be mindful that as a reporter, you may be the only person aware of specific concerns for a student; thus the referral source may be evident to the student.  

What should I do if a referral has already been submitted and the student's level of distress appears to be getting worse?

Occasionally, a student who is the subject of an ICare Referral may exhibit increased symptoms of distress.  Do not hesitate to contact Public Safety at (607) 274-3333 if your concerns for a student require immediate assistance.  Otherwise, make another ICare Referral with any additional concerns you have.    

Behavioral change takes time and can be challenging.  Referring individuals are encouraged to provide the ICare Team with updates on a student's progress by contacting the Case Manager, Christina McMahon, at (607) 274-7731 or cmcmahon@ithaca.edu