Student Who Asks for Academic Leniency Due to Psychological Issues
There may be times when a student comes to you to request leniency with grades or due dates because they report struggling with emotional or psychological interference. Psychological issues can impede an individual's cognitive functioning, and occasionally leniency is warranted. A student with a documented and diagnosed mental health condition can seek accommodations through the Student Access Center. On occasion, a student will experience a crisis that temporarily impairs their functioning or is newly diagnosed. When this happens, we recognize that it can feel like an additional burden is placed on you as a University staff or faculty member to determine how much academic assistance a student needs, if leniency is warranted and how serious their psychological issue might be. Below we offer some things to think about before making your decision.
- Refer the student to the Student Access Center to determine eligibility for academic accommodations.
- Listen to the student's request and consider leniency if warranted. (Avoid shaming or belittling the student for requesting leniency).
- Consider referring the student to CAPS to evaluate the seriousness of the psychological issue. (Be mindful not to question the validity of their psychological concerns). Ask the student to sign a release of information at CAPS so that the counselor can communicate with you about the student and provide consultation on the student's request for leniency. Consulting with a counselor at CAPS, especially if you have doubts about the validity of their concerns, can be helpful when deciding on the student's request.
- Encourage the student to meet with their academic advisor to explore possible course withdrawal, if necessary.
- Contact CAPS to provide information that may be helpful and important for the counselor to know if the student is being seen at CAPS currently or seeks treatment in the future. When in doubt, if any personal information the student tells you raises red flags, it should be passed on to CAPS and The Office of Student Life (OSL) regardless of whether the student is in counseling.
- Maintain communication with the student about their request and how you are working on a resolution.
- Call the campus or local police if you have immediate concerns and believe a welfare check is needed.
CAPS, Kansas State University – adapted from information by UC-Davis Counseling and Psychological Services