March 19, 2020 Message from SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, PhD.

March 19, 2020 Message from SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, PhD.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 11:14
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Dear SUNY Students,

When you chose SUNY as the place to pursue your college and career ambitions, you became part of the SUNY family. We made a commitment to you to support you along the way and that commitment remains – especially now during these challenging times. While on campus, you’ve made friends, developed traditions and enjoyed expanding your vision of what the world is and your unique role in it. I’ve heard from many of you regarding the anxiety and uncertainty you feel about your future, so I would like to offer a few thoughts and give you my personal support because that is what family does for one another.

Your safety and well-being are our number one priority. That is why we decided to cancel or postpone all study abroad programs, extended spring break, and encouraged those of you who can stay at home or with friends to not come back to your campuses until further notice. We took this action to blunt the spread of the COVID19 by reducing the density of exposure.  

As part of our commitment to your academic pursuits, we worked over the past year to upgrade our online learning platform which is now accessible to provide you the tools to complete your coursework remotely. While the learning environment is different, you will have the network and backing of all of SUNY at your fingertips to help you finish the semester. And for seniors— don’t worry. If necessary, we will reschedule your commencement to make sure you walk across the stage and we proudly celebrate your accomplishments.  It is also important to mention that you will receive credits or refunds for the services that you do not use this semester, such as room, board and activity fees.

As a result, campus life has been turned upside down. I know what that is like.  When I was at university, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymph system. It was also a major disruption that took six months of my life to overcome. What got me through it was the strong support of my family and my college network of friends, colleagues, and faculty. That same network will help support you through the COVID19 crisis.

Your SUNY family is here for you. The SUNY system and each campus president, the faculty and staff are committed to supporting you and to delivering a great education. I will continue to communicate with you weekly, and with your presidents daily.  I encourage you to reach out for support. While everything may seem different, take comfort in the things that remain the same – studying, completing projects and connecting with each other virtually.  Together we will get through this and come out even stronger. I promise you.

Take care of yourselves, your family, your friends, your SUNY.

Sincerely yours, 

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD. 
Chancellor, The State University of New York