Even after Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, people across Long Island and the surrounding states are still feeling the repercussions of the disastrous Category 1 hurricane. Physical damage is slowly and steadily being cleaned up and lives are starting to return to normal, especially for those at Stony Brook University.
As students, staff and faculty know, Hurricane Sandy forced the university to close and led to the cancellation of classes and school-related activities for a week due to safety precautions. However, four weeks after the hurricane, Stony Brook is still trying to get back in the swing of things and figure out what to do next.
“Our number one plan is to just go ahead and move forward,” Dr. Charles Robbins, vice provost for undergraduate education and dean of the undergraduate colleges, said. “We have a high degree of comfort that the waiver will be granted because the university was closed and it was both a federal and state declared disaster.”
The state waiver that the university put in for will allow the week of classes that was missed to be legally dismissed from the academic calendar, meaning that those contact hours, hours required to be in class by state, will not have to be made up.
Stony Brook made the decision to ask for the waiver due to the lack of time left in the academic calendar.
“It is up to each university,” Robbins said. “And, when we looked at the academic calendar and what was left between the semester ending very soon, finals running through the 19, and commencement on Dec. 21, our staff felt that there really wasn’t enough available time to make up the hours.”
While Stony Brook asked for the state waiver, other schools surrounding the university decided on different approach to make up the missed days.
“They extended the semester by a week, but it was not really an extension,” Sara Smith, a double major in business administration and political science and freshman at St. Joseph’s College, said. “Instead of having a finals week, they made it a regular school week and asked the finals to be given in a class session (an hour and twenty five minutes) as opposed to a two hour final. Finals week was supposed to be the 12-18 but now classes are until the 21.”
Hofstra University, Suffolk Community College, and Adelphi University are all extending their semesters.
“Most classes have been affected by the storm in regards to cutting out information that should have been in the curriculum,” Elizabeth Sarian, a sophomore elementary education major and music minor at Hofstra, said. “For my English class, we cut out one book almost entirely, and lost the opportunity of another test, which was cancelled. I would have liked the test because it would have been an extra grade to average in. So, I think it was a good decision. We need those extra days to cover more information and for review.”
Students across Stony Brook campus are also in agreement with the university about its decision.
“I think it is a good decision,” Chris Kasubinsky, a sophomore computer science major, said. “I don’t think it could be extended with the holidays and finals.”
As of now, the university has asked faculty to focus on the material that is required and most important for the students to learn. This way, they can cover the necessary information adequately in the remaining time.
“I think the teachers are really trying to make up the time as best as they can,” Sandy Ren, a sophomore psychology major, said. “I feel that they are pushing all the work, missed and to come, together.”
There have been mixed reactions among students when it comes to the amount of work they are getting as a result of missing classes.
“I don’t think I am getting more work,” Stephanie Chow, a junior biology major, said. “I was originally supposed to have more work, but it got moved back. So personally I am in a better position.”
While Chow might feel like she is getting a hiatus from all the work, others are feeling the complete opposite.
“It has been awful,” Aaron Conway, a senior biology major, said. “I am making up for the stress with alertness pills. I think a lot of students are resorting to prescription pills to study and get all their work done.”
While some maybe feeling the pressure of make-up work, midterms, and upcoming finals, students agree with the university in that there wasn’t much they could do.
“The decision to cancel was really need base upon concern about the safety of the students, faculty, and staff,” Robbins said. “It just wasn’t safe for people who weren’t on campus to get to campus those days because of the conditions on the road and the lack of mass transit.”
When it comes to the effects of this storm on the academics, Robbins said, “We are convinced that the educational content, the educational experience that students are receiving is not in any way compromised.”
So, while Hurricane Sandy might be over and done with, students, faculty, and staff will continue to deal with the repercussions of it as they brace for a new storm: finals.