Harper College

Tips for Documenting Incidents

When you are filing a report - whether it be a formal referral to HEAT or Student Conduct, or an academic dishonesty referral - there are some basic things to keep in mind:

  • Write about the facts: the who, what, where, when, and how.
  • Include the impact of the behavior. This can include things such as
    • Students left the room.
    • You felt scared for your physical safety.
    • 3 people reported being unable to concentrate for 30 minutes after the incident.
  • Describe any attempts to intervene, discuss, or mitigate the issue and how the person responded to that.
  • While your privacy can be protected for situations where physical safety as at risk, write as if the person you are referring might ultimately read the referral. If the referral pertains to
  • Reports may be subject to disclosure through FERPA, FOIA, subpoenas or other means.
  • Remember you don't want the individual to feel "sold out". Avoid:
    • Speculations and Stereotypes,
    • Opinions
    • Labels
    • Diagnoses


Use the following checklist to ensure you have provided a comprehensive report:

A - About the Person - any known information about the individual

  • Name
  • Harper ID Number
  • Course enrollment
  • Relationship to campus

B - Behavior/Basis - what has been observed/ the reason for referral

  • Actions
  • Words used
  • Tone of Voice
  • Body Language
  • Frequency - how often it occurred?
  • Duration - how long it lasted?

C - Context - the setting(s) for the behavior(s)

  • When
  • Where
  • Unique factors of the environment
  • Prior interactions with the individual

D - Details - any other relevant information

  • Names of any witnesses
  • Any other information that may be relevant

E - Effect - the impact(s) of the behavior(s)

  • Measures of disruption to teaching or learning
  • Descriptions of emotions felt as a result
  • Indicators of disruption to office environments

F- Follow Up - any responses/attempts to intervene

  • Actions taken to intervene/address the behavior
  • Responses from the individual
  • Any documentation of the incident
  • Anyone else who has been notified about the incident
Last Updated: 1/17/24