Students in crisis

News of a student's death or other crisis (for example, life-threatening illness, serious injury, attack or attempted suicide) can reach the University in a number of different ways, but must always be reported immediately to the University Secretary.

Roger Gair, University Secretary

(0113) 343 4011

(out of office hours) via University Security on (0113) 343 2222

The Secretary (who has overall responsibility for the management of critical incidents), or David Wardle (Deputy Secretary) acting on his behalf, will ensure that information is conveyed to the relevant parties. David can be contacted on: 0113 343 4452 or

Role of the school and/or the hall of residence

The parent school or hall of residence concerned has a key role to play in responding to a student death or other crisis, but it will be advised and supported by a co-ordinating team (the details of which are set-out below).

Staff in the school/hall will usually know the student best, and will therefore know how to contact families and friends. After consulting the co-ordinating team, the school and/or hall should:

  • inform students and staff in the school/hall, drawing attention to sources of pastoral support (see below)
  • liaise with the family and students about the attendance of staff and students at the funeral, and perhaps arrange transport from the school
  • write appropriate personal letters of condolence to bereaved parents (to complement a formal letter sent by the Vice-Chancellor on behalf of the University institutionally)
  • be prepared to meet parents and make arrangements for the collection of personal effects from the University
  • ensure that parents or other relatives are accommodated appropriately if they need to come to Leeds
  • take the lead in liaising with relevant parties about any memorial service
  • identify someone who can, if necessary, speak to the media (through the Communications Office).

Role of the co-ordinating team

The co-ordinating team comprises David Wardle, Rev. Anthea Colledge, Jane Harris, Catherine Lorigan, Jeanette Hannah, Malcolm Dawson and Heather Sugden, whose areas of individual responsibility are indicated below.

Between them they will:

  • support the school/hall, and usually arrange an early meeting to plan a response
  • act as a bridge between the school/hall affected and the range of resources available in the University and beyond
  • ensure that appropriate pastoral support is made available to staff and students as necessary, both in the immediate aftermath of a death or other crisis and subsequently
  • ensure that each incident is effectively followed up, and that unnecessary duplication is avoided;
  • provide information about student support network agencies including the Leeds University Union Advice Centre and Leeds Student Medical Practice
  • respond to requests for help with the costs of accommodating relatives and other incidental costs.

Key Contacts

David Wardle

Deputy Secretary

0113 343 4452

Acting on behalf of the University Secretary, David will lead the co-ordination of the University’s response to a student death or crisis, liaising with other members of the co-ordinating team as appropriate.

Rev. Anthea Colledge

Chaplaincy Co-ordinator

(0113) 343 5070 (out of hours  07780 613862)

Anthea will advise staff on responding to a student death and will be available to discuss issues such as University attendance at funerals and community remembrance. Anthea, or one of her team, will co-ordinate the pastoral and spiritual response of different religious faiths; a member of the Chaplaincy is often the first of the co-ordinating team to provide pastoral support to those immediately affected by a death or other crisis (if necessary on site).

Jane Harris

Assistant Head of Student Support (Counselling and Wellbeing)

(0113) 343 4106

Jane will offer a range of support to students including 1-1 counselling and seeing affected students in groups. She can also advise individuals about other sources of help available on and off campus, including counselling for staff. Jane can talk through appropriate responses to difficult situations and, with other colleagues, help shape a plan of action.

Catherine Lorigan

Director of Student Operations

(0113) 343 5780

Catherine will co-ordinate responses to student administrative matters, within the University and externally. This may include providing advice on the award and conferment of degrees and other qualifications; any financial support that might be available; and arrangements for fee adjustments.

Jeanette Hannah

Mental Health Team Manager, University of Leeds Mental Health Team

(0113) 343 7458 or 07860 786156 or

Jeanette will offer assistance where the situation concerns student mental health, and will provide information and guidance around mental health needs, support and services for students, staff and parents. Jeanette can talk through appropriate responses to crises and clear pathways of care for those involved or affected by the incident. Jeanette can respond to a crisis situation or a concern around a risk of a student harming themselves or others.

Malcolm Dawson


(0113) 343 5483 or 07967 488393

Malcolm will liaise with police and other emergency services.

Heather Sugden

Manager (Accommodation Services)

0113 343 6071 (or 07810 852156)

Heather will provide advice in relation to any student crisis which arises in one of the University halls of residence, and will assist with the accommodation needs of the affected student’s family.

All media enquiries to schools should be referred to the Communications Office, unless another specific arrangement has been agreed.

The University Secretary and all team members can be contacted out of office hours through University Security on (0113) 343 2222.