What is the Student Support Team (SST)?
The Student Support Team (SST) is a small group of Southern Connecticut State University administrators, faculty, and staff who meet weekly during the academic year to discuss individual students who are struggling or having a difficult time and develop individualized plans to support those students. The information shared in this group is confidential and is used for the purpose of determining the best approach to reach out to the student in distress. SST referral information is shared in this meeting along with selected information available from the team members’ respective offices. The SST Chair convenes the meetings and, when necessary, assigns an individual case worker to work with the student and follow up.
Currently this group is comprised of representatives from Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, the Counseling Center, Student Health Services, the Student Success Center, the Office of Student Involvement, and the Office of Student Affairs. When necessary, additional representatives from the Disability Resource Center, the Academic Success Center, Academic Advising, Athletics, Access Programs, the Multicultural Center, the SAGE Center, First Year Experience Programs, and the Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy & Support Center may be called to serve on the SST.
Confidential Counseling Center information is NOT shared in SST meetings unless a release has been signed.
Who can make a referral to the Student Support Team (SST)?
Any individual is welcome to submit a referral to the SST. Most often those submitting a report at faculty, staff, students, or family members of a student.
What do I do if I know a student who may need to be referred to the Student Support Team (SST)?
If you feel there is an immediate threat to yourself, a student or the campus community, contact Southern’s University Police at (203) 392-5375 or 25375 from a campus phone.
If the concern is not an emergency or does not pose an immediate threat, a referral can be made using the Student Support Team Referral Form.
If you would rather speak to someone directly you can contact the SST Case Manager, Sue Zarnowski, at (203) 392-6137, or the Dean of Students, Dr. Jules Tetreault, at (203) 392-5556. Additionally, the SST Case Manager can be reached via email at
You are the SST’s best resource as you are familiar to the student. If you are comfortable doing so, tell the student that you are concerned and ask if he/she is okay. Many times students will indicate that they could use some help or support and you can refer them to Counseling Services or another resource on campus.
What types of concerns should be reported?
If you believe a student poses a threat or is in imminent danger, please call 911 or call University Police at (203) 392-5375.
Students with significant academic difficulties and/or behavioral health concerns that result in disruptive behavior or cause one to be very worried about a student’s wellbeing are most often reported to the SST. If you observe changes in a student’s behavior or appearance or a significant decrease in their academic performance you should refer the student. Students who in engage in aggressive or inappropriate behaviors, who violate boundaries you have set or who fail to comply with requests from instructors, administrators or others should be referred. Additionally, students who appear withdraw, sullen, upset, or depressed should also be considered for a referral.
More information about potential indicators of concern and when to refer to the SST can be found under ‘When to Refer to the Student Support Team’.
Can referrals be made for graduate students?
Yes. The SST accepts referrals for graduate students, undergraduate students, and non-matriculated students.
Can an anonymous referral be made to the Student Support Team (SST)?
You are strongly encouraged to identify yourself when submitting an SST referral because this may assist the SST if clarification or additional information is needed. Anonymous reports can be submitted through the University Police “Silent Witness” program. Anonymous reports will be evaluated on a case by case basis and forwarded to the SST when University Police deem it necessary.
What happens after I make the referral?
If the concern is urgent, the Dean of Students or the SST Case Manager may seek out the student to make sure everything is okay. In a less urgent situation, the student will be discussed at the weekly SST meeting. During the meeting, all relevant SST members will assess the student’s situation and determine the most effective way to respond. Each student’s situation is different and requires an individualized approach.
What happens to the student under the Student Support Team (SST)?
When a referral is submitted, the SST decides upon the most appropriate person to reach out to the student of concern. This can often be accomplished without mentioning the details of the SST referral itself. Sometimes a student will be asked to meet directly with the SST Chair or another member of the SST. The student often knows why this meeting has been requested without needing to share details of the SST referral.
How do I know if my concern is serious enough to warrant a Student Support Team (SST) referral?
You do not have to make that determination; the SST Chair or Case Manager will do it for you. The most critical step is that you report your concern to the Dean of Students office or the SST. If another campus resource is more appropriate, the SST will refer the student and handle the transfer of information.
We appreciate having more information than less information when it comes to assisting students in need. Please review the information in ‘When to Refer" for more guidance regarding submitting a referral. You may also contact the SST Case Manager or Dean of Students to discuss your concern prior to submitting a referral.
Will students be disciplined?
The SST process is not punitive in nature. It is aimed specifically at providing confidential, respectful, and proactive support to students and the campus community. The SST does not address disciplinary issues. Disciplinary issues are handled by the Office of Student Conduct.
Does the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prevent me from sharing student information with the Student Support Team (SST)?
FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, protects the privacy of students’ educational records. University personnel may be concerned about FERPA violations when discussing distressed students, however, FERPA does allow exceptions to privacy or the sharing of information when there are legitimate educational interests and/or health and safety concerns.
Can I know the outcome of a student that I referred?
The SST and its processes are FERPA protected similar to other student educational records. If the SST determines that you have a legitimate educational need to know about the matter, you may have access to these records. For more information about FERPA, please click here.
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed when dealing with individual and campus safety. Information shared among the SST may also be shared with additional faculty and staff if the SST deems it necessary to ensure the educational interests and/or health and safety of the student in question. The SST operates within the guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Confidential Counseling Center information is not shared at SST meetings unless a ‘Release of Information’ has been signed by the student.
For Referred Students
Why is the Student Support Team (SST) contacting me?
You are an OWL and someone in your campus community is concerned about you and a behavior they observed. Southern Connecticut State University is particularly concerned about high-risk behaviors by students because they can negatively impact your health, safety, and academic success. You received an email to come in a meet with a member of the SST to discuss the concern and give you an opportunity to share your story with someone who can help connect you to the appropriate resources.
How will the Student Support Team (SST) process help me?
Working with a member of the SST will help you to identify and navigate the campus resources, supports, and services that can serve your needs.
Is the Student Support Team (SST) referral going to be on my transcript?
No. SST referrals are not punitive in nature and therefore are not on your academic record or transcript. The referrals and subsequent records are kept confidential and will only be shared with your written permission or if there is a legitimate educational interest or an immediate health and safety risk.