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 and can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This administrator is called the Dean-on-Call and can be reached by calling (773) 834-HELP (4357) or 4-HELP from a campus phone.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 in a critical incident. 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 partners to coordinate the University’s response to insure that students receive due consideration and fair treatment. The Dean-on-Call will monitor an incident to make sure that adequate support continues to be made available even after the critical situation passes. 

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

Engaging the Dean-on-Call

A student, faculty member or staff person may contact the Dean-on-Call at any time a student has an emergency 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).

The Dean-on-Call will be contacted by UCPD when UCPD has a report of a critical 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 that the Dean-on-Call should be notified. 

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, 
  • Getting medical care or counseling, 
  • Reporting a crime to the police, 
  • Identifying community resources for legal assistance,
  • Adjusting living arrangements,
  • Managing academic obligations, or
  • Emphasizing an environment of civility during protests and demonstration involving students. 

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 Area Dean of Students. At other times, the Dean-on-Call merely explains and answers questions about procedures at university housing, the emergency room or the police station.

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,
  • 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.

In Critical Incidents

The Dean-on-Call intervenes at times to de-escalate a situation between a student and other members of the campus and/or community. In these cases, the Dean-on-Call works with University partners to coordinate the University’s response to insure that students receive due consideration and fair treatment. The Dean-on-Call will monitor an incident to make sure that adequate support continues to be made available even after the critical situation passes.

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 that the student’s area Dean of Students is to be informed of a specific incident without consultation with the student.

When a Dean-on-Call assists a student, the Dean-on-Call will ensure the student’s privacy; this means that only those people who need to know to help in dealing with a critical incident will be given the student’s name and other limited information as necessary. In a rare instance, the Dean-on-Call may learn information from a student that the University may be obligated to pursue, even against the student’s wishes.