Dean-on-Call Program

One of the resources the University makes available to students is the support and guidance of a University administrator who is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This administrator is the Dean-on-Call and can be reached by calling (773) 834-HELP (4357) or 4-HELP (4357) from a campus phone and following the system's voice prompts. The Dean-on-Call program is a collaborative effort between Campus and Student Life (CSL) and the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD). UCPD provides dispatch and transportation services for the Dean-on-Call program, and often accompanies the Dean-on-Call when they respond to a student in person. Information on the Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call is also available here.

Role of the Dean-on-Call

The Dean-on-Call is the University official responsible for providing referrals, information, and support to students during an emergency.  The Dean-on-Call intervenes at times to de-escalate a situation between students and other members of the campus and/or community, and works with University resources and offices to coordinate the University’s response to ensure students receive due consideration and fair treatment.  The Dean-on-Call will monitor an incident to make sure that adequate support continues even after the incident passes.

Engaging the Dean-on-Call

Students, faculty, or staff may contact the Dean-on-Call any time there is a concern or emergency in order to get advice and support in managing the situation. The Dean-on-Call can be reached through the UCPD dispatch at 773.702.8181 or 123 from any campus phone. The Dean-on-Call may also be reached through a direct paging system by calling 773.834.HELP (4357), and following the system's voice prompts.

UCPD will contact the Dean-on-Call when UCPD has a report of an incident in which:

  • A student has been the victim of a violent crime, such as a robbery, battery, or assault;
  • there are significant concerns about a student’s health or well-being, such as a serious accident, a fire, or a student has not been seen for some time;
  • a student is engaged in disruptive or dangerous activities, such as loud music or climbing on roofs; or
  • a student is detained or arrested by police.

There may be other incidents reported to UCPD involving a student in which UCPD may determine to notify the Dean-on-Call.

Role and Scope

The role of the Dean-on-Call is both supportive and administrative. The Dean-on-Call tries to inform, comfort, and assist a student. The Dean-on-Call will answer a student’s questions and can assist with:

  • Finding emotional support
  • Connecting with medical care or student counseling
  • Reporting a crime to the police
  • Confidentially reporting concerns about a roommate, friend, or fellow student
  • Identifying community resources for legal assistance
  • Identifying possible resources to assist in adjusting living arrangements
  • Helping to connect with academic resources to manage academic obligations
  • Emphasizing an environment of civility during protests and demonstration involving students
  • Monitoring and responding to protests, demonstrations, and disruptions, in accordance with the University’s commitment to free expression

At times, the Dean-on-Call may counsel a student on the potential emotional reactions a student may experience in the coming days and weeks, and recommend seeking professional help and academic support through a student’s Dean of Students Office. At other times, the Dean-on-Call explains and answers questions about procedures at University Student Health Service, Student Counseling Service, the hospital's Emergency Department, or UCPD.

The scope of the Dean-on-Call role does not include:

  • Giving legal advice
  • Giving medical advice
  • Interfering with law enforcement
  • Mediating landlord-tenant disputes or any other contractual disputes
  • Using personal resources to provide students with a place to stay, car rides, or financial assistance

For information on available community legal resources, click here.

Protests and Demonstrations

Often, the Dean-on-Call will be present at and monitor protests, demonstrations, and other events on or adjacent to University property.  If called upon, the Dean-on-Call will work actively to preserve an environment of spirited and open discourse and debate, allowing for the opportunity to have all participants contribute to intellectual exchange and full participation in an event. In instances of disruptive behavior or violations of University policies, the Dean-on-Call will respond and provide direct instructions to stop disruption, if it is safe to do so.  Failure to adhere to the directives of a Dean-on-Call may result in referral to one or more University disciplinary systems.

Additional Support and Privacy

In consultation with the student, the Dean-on-Call may notify the student’s Resident Heads, Area Dean of Students, friends, and/or family about the situation.  In some occasions, the Dean-on-Call may determine that a situation is critical enough as to inform the student’s Area Dean of Students of a specific incident without consultation with the student.

The Dean-on-Call will ensure the student’s privacy; this means that only those people who need to know certain information in order to assist will be given the student’s name and other limited information as necessary. In rare instances, the Dean-on-Call may learn information from a student that the University may be obligated to pursue, even against the student's wishes.