Faculty and teaching assistants advised on how to help students in distress

Dear Colleagues,

We are all mourning the student deaths suffered by the Cornell family in the past three weeks. As Provost and Dean of the Faculty, we are writing to advise faculty and graduate teaching assistants on how to help students experiencing personal challenges and stress. Please share this message with your teaching assistants.

As you are well aware the upcoming week will be one of the most stressful of the semester, with many students taking prelims prior to Spring Break. They need to know, and this must be emphasized, that while exams are important, they must be kept in perspective. They are not of sufficient importance to jeopardize an individual's health and well being. We ask that you raise this particular issue in your classes this Monday and Tuesday, and that you express to your students that you care not only about their academic performance, but also about them personally.

Please encourage students who are feeling overwhelmed to seek help from the Gannett Health Services or any of the many other resources that are available to them. If you or your teaching assistants have concerns about an individual student please contact your college advising office immediately. You should encourage students to come to you with any concerns they may have about their own situations or about friends and classmates. Furthermore, we ask you to consider making adjustments to the exam schedules of students who appear to be under unusual duress.

Below is contact information for Cornell offices that can provide assistance.

Thank you for your work in educating, mentoring, and caring for our students.

Warmest regards,

Kent Fuchs

Bill Fry
Dean of the Faculty


Gannett Health Services 607 255.5155

  • 24/7 phone consultation with a medical or mental health care provider for any member of the Cornell community with a concern about a student
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Medical Care
  • Regular hours:
    • Monday to Friday: 8:30 am to 5 pm
    • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 pm
  • www.gannett.cornell.edu: extensive online, campus, and community resources for people seeking help for themselves or for someone else in distress
  • Special information for parents

EARS (Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Service) 607 255-EARS (3277)

  • Peer counseling for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Phone or drop in the EARS counseling room at 213 Willard Straight Hall
  • Hours:
    • Sunday through Thursday: 3 to 11 pm
    • Friday: 3 to 10 pm
    • Saturday: 6 to 11 pm

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program 800 327-2255; select option 1

  • 24/7 phone consultation with a mental health professional for faculty and staff

Cornell United Religious Work 607 255-4214

  • Consultation with clergy and spiritual leaders

Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service Hotline 607 272-1616

  • 24/7 telephone counseling and consultation

In an emergency requiring immediate assistance, call 911.

For a more comprehensive list of resources, please visit Gannett's Notice and Respond website.