When a student is unable to contact instructors about an absence because of hospitalization or incapacitation, the Office of Student Life can send by email an emergency notification to instructors.

When you receive an emergency notification from the Office of Student Life, you may consider writing to the student to let them know what you will need from them when they return.

An emergency notification IS:

  • An e-mail notification from the Office of Student Life to a student's faculty members and academic advisers that is sent to the student, as well.
  • An announcement of an emergency situation that has taken a student away from campus/classes (their own hospitalization, assault, accident, death in the family, etc.).
  • A source of information for you so you can anticipate the absence and, sometimes, if/when you can expect the student to return to class.
  • A written reminder for students that they should work with you to figure out how they will proceed in your course given their absence.
  • Sent when a student can't notify you him/herself.

An emergency notification IS NOT:

  • A notification for non-emergency situations (car problems, planned absences, minor illnesses, a past absence).
  • A requirement for students. If a student notifies you that they are in an emergency situation, you can work out the details with them and do not need to involve our office.
  • A request or mandate to excuse an absence (that is left to the professor to determine).
  • Verification that the story the student/caller has told is true (verification is provided by the student to the professor upon request).
  • Sent when a student can notify or has notified you him/herself.

Dean of Student Life staff DOES:

  • Recommend to students that they provide instructors with supporting documentation for the absence.
  • Ask for some details from the person requesting the emergency notification so we can assess the situation and offer advice about what should be done to make the student's transition back to class easier.
  • Often follow up with students after the emergency notification process. Knowing their situation can help us tailor our follow-up, get them the help they need, and help them be better prepared to re-enter your class.

Dean of Student Life staff DOES NOT:

  • Investigate when we receive requests to send out emergency notifications; we do not contact hospitals, doctors, or family members to assess the validity of an absence.

When the student comes back:

  • Because we do not investigate, you are within your rights to ask for documentation of their absence.
  • We recognize that you have the academic freedom to make decisions about absences and how they will affect a student's grade. However, please keep in mind that students who utilize the emergency notification service are typically recovering from a crisis and would benefit from your flexibility.