When students are absent due to a crisis situation or unexpected situation and unable to contact their individual instructors directly, the Office of Student Assistance can send out an Emergency Notification. This does not serve as an excused absence, however, it does provide communication to a student's faculty that they will not be in class for a period of time. 

An e-mail notification from the Dean of Students Office to a student's faculty members and academic advisers. A copy of this message is sent to the student as well.

  • An announcement that an emergency situation (their own hospitalization, accident, death in the family, etc.) prevents student from contacting instructors directly and may also prevent them from fulfilling their academic responsibilities.
  • A source of information so faculty can anticipate the absence and return of student to their course if that information is available.
  • A written reminder that students should work directly with instructors to determine how to complete any missed course work during the absence.

Please note: The Dean of Students Office staff does not investigate when students request an Emergency Notification. We ask for enough details from students to assess the situation and offer advice about what should be done to make their transition back to class easier. However, we do not contact hospitals, doctors, police, family members, etc. to assess the validity of an absence prior to sending out an Emergency Notification. We inform students that it is their responsibility to have appropriate documentation available when their instructors request it.

Contact the Dean of Students by phone at 515-294-1020 or by e-mail studentassistance@iastate.edu. Be prepared to provide a detailed description of the emergency circumstance, as well as a reasonable explanation as to why the student is unable to contact their instructors directly. If possible, please include the estimated length of time the student will be absent from classes. 

If the student is able to reach out to the Dean of Students Office, our staff will ask the student to contact their instructors rather than sending out an Emergency Notification.

Each instructor has the authority to make decisions about student absences and how the absence will affect the student's grade. The Dean of Students staff encourages faculty to keep in mind that students who utilize the emergency notification service are typically recovering from a crisis and would benefit from appropriate consideration. If a student does not feel faculty are being fair in considering their situation, Student Assistance staff can assist the student by discussing the academic grievance process as an option.



Staff in Student Assistance will contact the student after the emergency notification process to offer support and assistance as students resume their academic responsibilities. 

Instructors may also contact the student directly to discuss the student's responsibility for completing missed course work, as well as any documentation required when the student returns. Because the staff in the Dean of Students Office does not investigate prior to sending out an Emergency Notification, students should be prepared to share some information regarding their absence.

Students are also responsible for communicating directly with faculty regarding what was missed during their absence. If students are concerned or worried about how much information to share with faculty, or need support crafting a communication to faculty, students can reach out to our team.

Additionally, the Office of Student Assistance will provide support and connection to resources for students that are navigating any kind of emergency.

  • An Emergency Notification is NOT appropriate for non-emergency situations (e.g. car problems, planned absences, minor illnesses, or a past absence).
  • An Emergency Notification is NOT a request or mandate to excuse an absence (This decision is the sole responsibility of the instructor to determine).
  • An Emergency Notification is NOT a requirement for students. If a student contacts instructors about an emergency situation directly, it is not necessary to involve the Dean of Students Office as you arrange to resolve the absence. Instructors are always welcome to share information with the Dean of Students staff about any student concern.
  • An Emergency Notification is NOT verification that the information the student has provided is true (Documentation should be provided by the student upon request).
  • Students and Faculty are encouraged to review Thielen Student Health Center's class excuse policy to understand when they would and would not be able to provide documentation.
  • Faculty should understand, when a student is grieving the loss of a loved one, the student may not be able to provide documentation. Grieving is a personal process and students should, when they are able, follow up with faculty to begin resolving their time away from classes.