Message from President Stanley

To All Students, Faculty and Staff:

video imageThough we are all grateful that the immediate crisis of Superstorm Sandy is over, there are still many in our Stony Brook family who continue to live under extremely challenging conditions. To understand the full extent of Sandy’s impact, nearly 4,000 of our students come from areas that were in mandatory evacuation zones.

In light of these extraordinary circumstances, the University community has organized food and clothing drives to aid those in need. And I am proud to say that our students have come together to help in these efforts and much more — both on campus and in the community — sponsoring blood drives, volunteering with cleanup and assisting their neighbors. The Stony Brook Hardship Fund, which was originally created to provide emergency financial assistance for our faculty and staff, is now available to students.

If you or someone you know on campus has been affected by Hurricane Sandy and are in need of assistance, I urge you to browse this webite.

The Hardship Fund is entirely dependent on donations from the campus community. So, in this season of giving, if you would like to contribute, please visit the Hardship Fund page.

Campus Operations
As we continue to recover from the widespread effects of what is now being called "Superstorm Sandy," I want to keep you updated on campus operations.

First and foremost, Stony Brook University successfully managed through this incredibly destructive storm and its aftermath. We as a community were very fortunate in that we experienced just a brief power interruption (less than one hour) during the overnight hours. The continuous power supply can be attributed to the cogeneration (power) plant here on campus, which is our primary power source. LIPA provides a backup resource in the event that our plant goes offline, and fortunately this resource was not required.

On Main campus, more than 7,000 students remained in residence. Students in residence on the Southampton Campus were evacuated and housed on the Main campus in Stony Brook. Power was restored to the Southampton Campus today and we hope to move students back to their residences this weekend. The Manhattan Campus remains without power so a decision on holding classes there will be made on a day-to-day basis until power is restored.

We at Stony Brook University continue to administer our own cleanup efforts — which have been ongoing throughout the storm and thereafter. The transformation over the past week is palpable, yet I urge those who are here to exercise caution while walking or driving on campus, as it may be several days before all debris and flooded areas are completely clear. Some physical damage occurred — in some instances quite severe — to campus building roofs and exteriors, and a number of trees have fallen and caused significant damage to exterior lighting, as well as walkways, roadways and property.

Our Facilities and Services staff has been all-hands-on-deck in the cleanup aftermath and they are to be congratulated for their
dedication and service for making the students on campus and our essential employees experience a relatively seamless transition. As the Main Campus repopulates, we anticipate further reports of damage and infrastructural issues. All issues should be reported directly to building managers who will report to the appropriate area in Facilities and Services.

Surveying the damageAlso to be commended are the staff that attended to the more than 7,000 residential students who remained on campus during the storm. From RHDs to RAs, Residential Operations staff, Student Activities staff and the FSA Campus Dining operations staff — they all took care of our residents with outstanding forethought and planning, and are to be commended for their efforts and their dedication to our students.

The impact this storm had on campus facilities and services at Stony Brook's Main Campus, including the Medicine Campus and LISVH, was well managed due to excellent preparation and planning by the University Police Office of Emergency Management under the direction of Chief Bob Lenahan and Assistant Chief Larry Zacarese. It was their efforts, and the dedicated leadership of Sr. Vice President for Administration Barbara Chernow, that facilitated a comprehensive effort to ensure very limited interruption of power, road access and provision of healthcare services. I also commend the work of the Stony Brook Medicine Emergency Command Center for Stony Brook University Hospital and Long Island State Veterans Home, which stepped up in a big way by accepting patients from other institutions while they cared for our patients and their families, our faculty and staff during the surging storm.

Looking Ahead
To address the academic implications of this full week of class cancellation, we are working closely with SUNY System Administration on several possibilities to make up classes, including seeking a waiver from the State Education Department. More information on this important issue will follow as it becomes available.

While we pick up the pieces and mend fences in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, I am again reminded that as a campus community we experienced a terrible loss that cannot be repaired or restored. Losing a student in an off-campus accident during the storm, with four others injured, has to be the worst of all outcomes. It truly reminds us of the dangers that exist during a time of a natural disaster and the importance of taking the utmost of precautions for personal safety and security under such circumstances.

Please remember to check our Emergency Management page or by following the Stony Brook University Emergency Management Office on Twitter @sbuem.

In addition to the Emergency Management webpage hosted by UPD, this site will highlight all resources and relief activities in which members of the campus community may become involved. Please contact Jacob Levich (Jacob.Levich@stonybrook.edu) with any requests for news postings as we navigate through the Sandy aftermath.

Thank you all for your patience and commitment during this time of extreme crisis. While we still have significant issues to deal with, I am very proud how the people of Stony Brook University have risen to the occasion and helped us and the community weather this storm.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.
President