Early Alert Team offers continuing support for students

By: Taylor Hoppe


Benedictine University offers resources to students who may be in need of special attention, which includes BenU’s Early Alert Team (EAT). The team is compiled of many faculty and staff members from various departments and works with the Office of Student Life to ensure the well being of students.

The EAT deals with students who are exhibiting disruptive behavior, experiencing distress or struggling academically.  According to the EAT web site, the team “serves as a point of referral for faculty, staff [and] students who are concerned about the physical, emotional [or] academic health of a University student.”

Once a situation is reported, the EAT is able to contact the appropriate resources to help the student.

“We recently revamped our system and added an organizational chart as a guideline to show who is responsible when something is reported,” stated Linda Owens, associate dean for student development. “We also added a form so [someone] can report a concern anonymously.”

When a situation is reported, the EAT assesses the situation and refers the student to a specific department that can help them with their problem.  These departments ranging, from the chief of police to a financial representative, are prepared to handle nearly any situation.

“It’s definitely helpful to have a service available for students that assess distress or harmful behaviors,” says Kara Zuro. “If someone I knew needed help that I could not provide, I would consider referring them to the [EAT] to get the help they need.”

The EAT is able to handle situations so BenU Police do not need to be called. “We handle situations such as a student repeatedly missing class or if a student has recently lost a close friend or family member and needs some guidance,” Owens said. Don’t reuse the same word so close together.

She also shared that in case of a disaster on campus, the EAT will work alongside the Benedictine Police Department, as well as the Emergency Response and Recovery Team, to ensure the safety of students.

“I think it’s cool. If more people knew about [the EAT] it would probably be used a lot more,” commented Bryan Bathauer. “If I couldn’t help a friend that I saw was in need I would consider referring them to the [EAT].”

“[The EAT] is also in the process of enhancing and updating our student complaint form,” says Owens.  The form is available online and can be accessed by searching “Student Complaint Form” in the search box on the Benedictine home page.

“The student complaint form is a little different from the EAT,” Owens adds. Upon elaboration, Owens said this would be the appropriate form to fill out if you are having problems with a roommate.

“We want to share is that we want the student body, faculty and staff to let us be aware of concerns about a student within [the EAT’s] jurisdiction,” says Owens.

“Situations have been reported to us already this semester,” she continued. “We want people to know we are here to help.”