Community First: The CARITAS Commitment logo

Holding fellow community members accountable and reminding them to put Community First is a key tenet of the CARITAS Commitment. The University offers many reporting options and resources to address concerns or for when you may need additional support.

For emergencies, call the Department of Public Safety at 610-519-4444

Stepping In:
How You Can Help

It can feel uncomfortable to ask someone to put on their face mask or to follow other health and safety guidelines. Yet, it’s so important—by following the CARITAS Commitment we’re all doing our part to keep Villanova safe.

This information will provide basic strategies for helping to put Community First. If you have any questions, feedback or ideas about stepping-in, or if you would like additional assistance or training on ways to step-in, please contact

Deciding to Step In

If you notice someone who is not following health and safety guidelines, you can approach the person in a number of ways. Following the positive bystander framework is a good place to start.

  1. Notice a situation that troubles you
  2. Decide if what is troubling you is actually a problem
  3. Assume personal responsibility
  4. Know how to step in
  5. Take action

If you’re at the point where you’re thinking about how to have this conversation, you’ve probably already gotten through these two steps.

The next part of this process is to assume personal responsibility. Each of us, as members of the Villanova community, plays a role in upholding the CARITAS Commitment. If any of us notices someone not staying safe, we should ask that person to follow through with the CARITAS Commitment when possible, while recognizing that interpersonal considerations and dynamics of power and privilege (e.g., situations when an authority figure may not be adhering to the guidelines) may affect the decision to step in. Always remember that your own personal safety concerns are important when deciding if you will intervene.

How to Help

Once you’ve made the decision to step-in, you’ll want to think about how to help. This is where you can get creative! Remember, safety comes first, but always be kind. 

Here are examples of how you can approach these situations. Feel free to modify these to fit your own style.

  • Excuse me, would you mind putting on your mask/step back/create some extra space? Thanks so much.
  • Would you be able to put on your mask so that it covers your mouth and nose. It would really mean a lot.
  • Sorry to interrupt, but I’d really appreciate if you could put your mask over your mouth and nose/move to the side so I can get by safely.
  • I hope you don’t mind if I ask you to put your face covering on/allow for more distance.
  • It would really make me feel better if you had your mask on, thanks.
  • Just a gentle reminder about the CARITAS Commitment. We all agreed to keep our masks on/stay safe while at Villanova. Thanks.
  • I really need you to put the face covering over your nose and mouth/step a few more feet away.  
  • Can you do me a favor? I’m trying to follow the sign over there that says we should stay 6 feet away and would appreciate having more distance.
  • I’d really like to keep talking – let’s just keep more distance.
  • I’m so happy to see you—would you mind if we elbow bump instead of hug?

You may choose to make it more personal:

  • I’m worried about my health.
  • I really don’t want to get anyone else sick.
  • I live/work with someone who is vulnerable, and I don’t want to be a risk for them.
  • I don't want to be a part of the problem 
  • I want to make sure I'm doing my part in keeping Villanova safe so everyone can stay on campus.
  • I’m a healthcare worker/student/teacher/staff member, and I’ve seen what COVID can do.
  • I’m worried about healthcare workers/essential workers.
  • My family member/friend/ is old/ill, and I help take care of them.
  • I have an important deadline coming up, and I just can’t afford to get sick.

You could also add something more specific about transmission:

  • I’ve read the recent research and it’s clear that if we both wear masks/keep distance, there’s almost no chance that we could infect each other.
  • I read an article about a man on a bus who didn’t realize he had COVID-19 and wasn’t wearing a mask.  He infected five people on the ride, and when he put a mask on for the second part of his ride, he didn’t infect anyone.
  • Did you see that report from the CDC about two hair stylists who had COVID-19? They didn’t get any of their clients infected because they and their clients (more than 100!) wore masks. 

Or something you find moving or funny:

  • One of my favorite masks says “wearing a mask is a sign of respect”—and that really rings true to me.
  • Have you heard that comment about the virus not giving extra credit for good behavior yesterday? I know it seems like one time won’t matter, but every time actually matters. 
  • I love that photo of [ --- ] with a mask on, and that motivated me to keep mine on full time.
  • Have you seen the #WearADamnMask challenge?
  • I see that you have a nice cloth chin strap/bracelet/earring. Do you mind using it as a face covering?
  • I keep thinking of all the health care providers/essential workers who have to wear their mask all day. If they can do that, I can wear it when I’m moving around campus.

Not everyone will be willing to follow your advice, no matter how thoughtfully you approach them. The important thing is that you tried your best to intervene. If someone appears angry or if the situation begins to escalate, walk away and, if needed, seek help from a friend, staff member, or Public Safety (610-519-4444). You can also submit a COVID-19 Community Concern Report to alert the appropriate University administrators. 

Thank you for all you do to put Community First. 

Reporting Concerns

The COVID-19 Community Concern report may be used to notfiy the University about any type of health and safety issue. The information will be forwarded to the appropriate University department to be addressed. 

The following University departments are also available to address health and safety questions or concerns:

Student Health Center

  • 610-519-4070

Environmental Health and Safety

Public Safety

Academic Support

If you or someone you know are struggling with attending class, staying on track, keeping up with assignments, or performing up to potential, students may self-refer, or be referred by others, for academic support by emailing the Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at

Additionally, each college has dedicated resources to assist students who may be struggling academically.  

Academic Integrity 

Individuals who believe that an academic integrity violation has occurred should report the suspected violation to the appropriate faculty member. If the faculty member does not act on the report, the student may also report the matter, in writing, directly to the faculty member's chair or dean of the college, who will then make a judgment as to whether an academic integrity violation has occurred based on the process described in the Academic Integrity Policy.


Grade Appeals and Faculty Matters

The Provost's Office provides guidelines for students to follow in order to request an appeal of grades, or for when there is a concern regarding a faculty member's performance. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or behavioral issue, there are multiple University resources whom can provide support.

Reporting Students of Concern

To report general behavioral concerns about a student, you should contact the Dean of Students Office at 610-519-4200 or The Dean of Students Office will assist by providing support or by referring to the appropriate University resource. 

Additionally, The University's CARE Committee brings together administrators from Student Life, Public Safety, the Counseling Center, and Academic Affairs to offer an informed and caring response to students of concerns. If you observe or encounter a student who may be a threat to themselves or the community, have experienced a traumatic personal event, or whose behavior/emotional state raise significant concern, you should contact Kathy Byrnes, Associate Vice President for Student Life and Chair of the CARE Committee, at 

Mental Health and Pyschological Concerns

The University Counseling Center has staff psychologists who are available to parents, students, faculty and administrators who are concerned about another person’s psychological wellbeing. Confidentiality and privacy prevents psychologists from discussing a student being seen in counseling, unless they have the student’s permission. However, by hearing a description of the conditions that have caused concern, and by asking a series of questions, psychologists can get a good sense of the severity of the situation and help you determine the best course of action. The University Counseling Center can be reached at 610-519-4050.


If a student is experiencing a mental health or behavioral crisis on-campus, they may go to the Student Health Center (open 24/7 during the semester). In the case of an emergency, students may alert an on-duty RA, or should contact the Department of Public Safety at 610-519-4444.

In the event a student experiences a life-threatening mental health emergency off-campus, they should be taken to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Incidents of intolerance, mistreatment, or bias are not tolerated at Villanova. Reporting incidents of concern helps Villanova grow towards a more safe, inclusive and respectful community. 

The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion provides a Climate Concern Incident Reporting form which can be utilized to report incidents of concern. For additional support, questions or resources, you should contact the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at 610-519-5719 or at, or visit their website.

Reporting Options

Any person may report an incident of sexual misconduct through a variety of available reporting options, including by contacting the University's Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. The University will respond to all reports in an integrated, consistent manner that treats each person with dignity and respect and will take prompt responsive action to end any reported sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

Resources and Support

Villanova offers a variety of resources and support available to students.  

More information about on and off campus resources can be found on the Sexual Violence website.


Additional Reporting Resources

Villanova University has contracted with EthicsPoint to provide a confidential internet and telephone based reporting tool to give University faculty, staff and students an anonymous and confidential way to address misconduct or mismanagement in the workplace or classroom setting. All community members are encouraged to utilize EthicsPoint to make a report, raise an issue, or ask a question. Anyone expressing such a concern or report is protected from retaliation. 

The following University offices are available to provide assistance with reporting and addressing concerns.

Dean of Students Office

  • 610-519-4200

Human Resources

  • 610-519-7900

Office of the Provost

  • 610.519.4525
  • 610-519-5466


This webpage is designed to highlight resources and options for reporting concerns to the University, but is not intended to be an exhaustive list. For complete information about student complaint processes, please visit the Higher Education Act (HEA) Information | Villanova University webpage.