In my years of working with underprepared, or at-risk type of students, instructors can be contributors to a student's withdrawal....we can't always be responsible for what turns them off, but we should be sensitive to the fact that some things we do will have a negative effect. Some of our students are on such wobbly ground emotionally about their fit in the university environment, the cultural differences they are encountering, the racism, and the huge family and emotional problems they may be facing on the homefront, that it takes just that one straw to break them. I remember one such student of mine that has made me work to set the tone with my own staff ever since. THis student was really tentative about whether or not he was going to make it in school. He was very bright, but had lots of other problems and self-esteem issues stacked against him. I finally talked him into going up to the computer lab (which he was very intimidated by) about three weeks late in the semester. The lab coordinator, who had a reputation for being a "tough love" kind of person, sarcastically chided him when he came in for not doing so sooner. That was the last that any of us saw of him. Now, I'm not saying we could have saved him if she had been nicer, but I am saying that we all need to think about the negative things we put in front of students without meaning to. Friendliness and a supportive may buy us enough time to start to reverse the damage these students bring with them initially and give them the boost they need to persevere.