Student Life Office

Emergency Absence

If a student needs to leave the college for a short period of time, but intends to return and complete the semester's work, the student should apply for an emergency absence. An emergency absence cannot extend beyond two weeks or the end of the semester.

Emergency absences may be granted for personal and family emergencies as well as for health reasons. Examples of circumstances that may require such an absence include: hospitalization, death in the family, life-threatening illness or injury, or recovery from an accident or surgery. A student requesting an emergency absence may be asked to provide documentation of the illness or emergency situation. See Emergency Absence FAQs for more information about what is considered an appropriate situation for taking an emergency absence.

Students are expected to speak directly with their instructors about the implications of such an absence with regard to their courses. The instructor of each course will determine whether it is possible for the student to resume and complete the course after returning from an emergency absence. An emergency absence does not release students from course requirements, including any requirements regarding class attendance and participation. For that reason, missing class for one or two weeks may have serious academic implications, even when the instructor supports the student’s emergency absence.

How to Request an Emergency Absence

Students who wish to request an emergency absence should contact the Student Life Office to schedule a meeting with a dean. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the student’s situation, relevant support resources, and if an emergency absence is approved, the intended use of time while away. The student and dean will work together to determine an appropriate length of absence and a plan for the student’s return at the conclusion of their emergency absence.

A student may also receive an endorsement for an emergency absence from the program director for Sexual Health, Advocacy & Relationship Education (SHARE) or from a treating clinician. In these situations the student will not need to further disclose the nature of their emergency, but must still discuss the logistics of their absence and complete the necessary paperwork with a dean in Student Life.

In extenuating circumstances when a student is unable to communicate directly with the college due to an extreme emergency, the Student Life Office may notify the student’s instructors and on-campus employers of the student’s absence until the student is able to resume communication.

If a student is not approved for an emergency absence, the dean will review with the student all other options for resolution and support resources relevant to their situation or circumstances. Students who need to miss class due to non-emergency circumstances are encouraged to speak directly with their instructors.

Communication to Faculty

If a student’s request for an emergency absence is approved, the Student Life Office will notify the student’s instructors, faculty adviser and, if relevant, on-campus employer that the student is approved for an emergency absence for a specified length of time. The student will be copied on this communication.

Students should be aware that the role of the Student Life Office in communicating with faculty is informational only. It is each professor's discretion to excuse absences or class work, even with an absence notification from the Student Life Office. It is the responsibility of the student to be in touch with faculty to discuss and agree upon a reasonable plan to address any academic issues that may arise from the student's absence.

Please see Emergency Absence FAQs for more information.

Returning from an Emergency Absence

The student is expected to return to class from their emergency absence by the date agreed upon with the dean in Student Life. The Student Life Office will contact the student one business day before their stated return to confirm their return. 

Upon return from an emergency absence the student will be invited to meet with a Student Life dean. This meeting will confirm the student’s return to the college and cover relevant resources to assist the student with the academic or personal transition back to campus.

If a student needs more than two weeks away from classes, the student may meet with a dean or their faculty adviser to discuss academic options or interventions. A student may also request a leave or medical leave of absence


Read the Emergency Absence FAQs. If you have questions please contact the Student Life Office at or 503-517-7396.