Frequently Asked Questions
- Student Support Team members are available for phone, virtual or in-person conversations Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00p.m.
Students are expected to reach out to their professors independently when they need to miss class. Each course will provide a syllabus that outlines procedures for missed classes and excused absences.
The Student Support Team is a group of caring professionals dedicated to assisting students who encounter serious challenges including hospitalization, medical emergencies, death of a loved one or basic needs insecurity. We understand that when difficulties arise, students may need support as they navigate their academic pursuits. Our goal is to ensure that each student effectively balances their own health and well-being with the academic demands of Stony Brook University.
In addition to connecting students with campus resources and support, the Student Support Team often requests documentation related to their difficult circumstances. While the Student Support Team does not have the authority to excuse an absence or extend a deadline, we act as a bridge to connect the student directly with their academic department and faculty member. Our team will accept documentation and write to the academic department, protecting the anonymity of the information, and connecting the student with their faculty member to discuss options that may be available to them. Students are clearly informed that any flexibility with assignments is at the discretion of individual faculty members and academic departments.
Faculty members are encouraged to refer students to the Student Support Team when they are made aware of an extended absence or life circumstance that may impact a student’s ability to succeed in their course. Communication from the Student Support Team is most appropriate when there has been an extended absence due to a hospitalization, family illness or death. Students should communicate and work directly with their faculty members in the event of a short-term absence.
There are specific University guidelines for students and instructors to follow regarding absences for religious holidays.
The Student Support Team is a group of individuals committed to supporting the emotional, physical and intellectual wellness of all Stony Brook University students. If a student is not sure how or where to get help, the Support Team will provide proactive and supportive consultation and refer students to other on-campus resources, as needed.
If a student lives on campus, a concerned parent or family member may call Campus Residences to request a wellness check. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), information regarding a student cannot be disclosed. However, a Residence Hall Director or Area Coordinator can forward a message to a student and ask that they return a phone call. If a student lives off campus, a concerned parent can contact Commuter Student Services and Off-Campus Living. If a parent or family member has reason to believe their student is in danger or missing, they should call 911 or contact University Police.
- Students needing to request reasonable accommodations for an ongoing disability should contact the Student Accessibility Support Center to schedule an intake appointment with an accessibility support counselor. If a student is in need of support or accommodations they should contact their professors directly to discuss their needs.
While every student will experience some moments of challenge while on the path to obtaining their academic goal, the majority of Stony Brook students will find that they are able to quickly resolve most problems they experience. However, for a proportion of students, the barriers they encounter will require the assistance and/or intervention of a University administrator, faculty or staff member to resolve.
For students experiencing difficulties, or who wish to lodge a concern or complaint, it is important to keep the following things in mind:
Ensure that you have contacted the appropriate office to address your issue
Be sure that you have contacted the personnel most able to understand your issue and get you help. It would be helpful before contacting an office to have all of the necessary information regarding your complaint, including any written documentation, a rough timeline of events, and the outcome or resolution you are seeking. Taking a few moments to organize the contents of your inquiry or complaint will help others best assist you.
Resist the temptation to go “right to the top”
Many of us want a prompt and fair response to any complaint or concern that we present. You may believe that immediately elevating your concern to the highest administrative level, e.g., the President’s Office or the Provost’s Office, will result in a more favorable response in a quicker time period. However, in large complex organizations like a University, elevating your complaint right to the top may actually delay the response time as your complaint or inquiry must be forwarded to the office that can best handle the issue and respond to the complexities and technicalities involved.
Whenever possible, advocate on your own behalf
Stony Brook University treats you as an adult. Asking parents, family members or other individuals to escalate a concern or question on your behalf is usually not recommended. Federal privacy laws known as FERPA make it virtually impossible for SBU faculty, staff and administrators to share information about your educational record unless you sign a written release. Also, friends and family members may not have the ready answers to questions we may need to ask to gain a better understanding about your situation.
You don't have to do this alone
The members of the Student Support Team serve as points of contact for students experiencing difficulty, and can help you navigate the University’s policies, procedures and protocols. They can also help ensure that your voice and “story” are heard and given their due consideration. Whenever you are in doubt about how to proceed with a question or concern, don’t hesitate to contact the Student Support Team.
*Adapted from San Francisco State University: Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management