Student Affairs

UNK Concerning and Risky Events (CARE) Team

UNK’s CARE Team is a multi-disciplinary body of professional stakeholders from across the campus which receives referrals pertaining to students of concern, collects additional information, and identifies and enacts appropriate strategies for addressing the concerning situation. The purpose of the team is to provide a confidential means for early intervention of at-risk students through collaboration with campus departments, faculty, and staff.

Students exhibiting behaviors that are of concern in relation to their personal, physical, and emotional well-being should be referred to this team of professionals. The CARE Team is not meant to be the sole mechanism of communication and will not take the place of services provided by Counseling & Health Care, Student Conduct Office, University Police, or other established student services.

CARE Team’s responsibility to the University
To provide a centralized structure for campus departments and offices that need help dealing with a student who is displaying concerning, disruptive, or distressed behaviors. The body is also tasked to develop a strategic plan of action to ensure the safety of the student and the campus at large.

Additionally, the team would ensure that information is shared among strategic partners concerned about student welfare. Finally, the CARE Team would also include responsibility for periodically reviewing and recommending changes in campus protocols that address assisting students in distress.

Members of the 2014 CARE Team:

  • Wendy Schardt, Director Counseling and Health Care
  • Dr. Gilbert Hinga, Facilitator – Dean, Division of Student Affairs | (308) 865-8528
  • Kristen Chamness – Associate Director, Counseling Care | (308) 865-8248 (24-hour line)
  • Cindy Matson – Associate Director, Student Health Care | (308) 865-8218
  • Alisha Hanshaw – Associate Director, Residence Life | (308) 865-8519
  • David Luker – Director, Academic Success & Disability Services | (308) 865-8988
  • Michelle Hamaker – Director, Police & Parking Services | (308) 865-8517
  • Brandon Benitz – Assistant Dean and Assistant Director of Leadership | (308) 865-1619
  • Traci Gunderson - Interim Director, International Affairs | (308) 865-8501
  • Jaime Lundgren – Associate Director, Intercollegiate Athletics | (308) 865-8863
  • Lee Ann Purdy – Coordinator, Risk Management | (308) 865-8641
  • Aaron Estes – Assistant Director, Academic & Career Services | (308) 865-8501
  • Dr. Kenya Taylor – Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs | (308) 865-8843

The CARE Team regularly consults with other peer offices such as:

  • Respective College office
  • Greek Affairs
  • Campus Ministry representative
  • Other as pertinent

Recognizing Warning Signs
Faculty and staff are often in a position to recognize students who are at risk. Identifying the signs of at-risk behaviors and responding in a timely manner may be a significant part of linking the student with the appropriate campus resource(s).

  • Unusual or erratic behavior in class, in the residence halls, during advising sessions, etc.
  • Extended absence from class or activities by a typically engaged student
  • Written work or creative expression with troubling themes or references
  • Written or verbal expressions of suicidal ideation

When to Refer a Student

  • Marked changes in academic performance
  • Noticeable decline in personal appearance/change in hygiene
  • Repeatedly engaging in disruptive behaviors in class
  • Excessive or inappropriate anger

How to Refer a Student
There are several options for referring a student name to the CARE Team.

  • Send an email to
  • Contact Kristen Chamness via the (24-hour line): (308) 865-8248 or email:
  • Call or email any of the other team members listed above

EMERGENCIES: The CARE Team is NOT for emergencies!

If there is an immediate threat to a student (either through self-harm or interpersonal violence) or the community, CALL 911.

If you believe a student is in need of immediate psychological/emotional help, you may call the Counseling Care 24-hour line at (308) 865-8248. For behaviors that are of concern, either because they are out of character or persistent even after being addressed, a referral to the CARE Team may be the next step.

Q. What about FERPA protection?
A. FERPA pertains to the privacy of educational records, but it does not prohibit the reporting of observable behavior.
If you are concerned about a personal interaction you have had with a student or an observation you have made pertaining to behavior, you are encouraged to report and/or consult with appropriate colleagues, especially as it relates to the educational mission of the University. The members of the CARE Team, as administrative agents in an educational institution, adhere to the laws and standards governing the disclosure of information to third parties both within and external to the University. Such information is only disclosed on an administrative need to know basis and only according to the relevant laws/policies that govern such disclosure.

Q. What if my department/office already has a structure to deal with students of concern?
A. Great! You should continue to use that structure to proactively best support the student. In addition, we recommend you to still report/refer the student to the CARE Team. There is often another department or office that the student is in contact with and who may be having similar concerns that we are able to connect through multiple referrals.

Q. Will I be contacted and updated about the student I refer?
A. Yes. You will be contacted to give the committee details about the concerning behavior. You may be updated with information as it pertains to the student's interactions with you or your department. However, you will not be informed of details of conversations with the student or possible disciplinary action that may occur depending on the situation.