Message to Graduate Students from Provost Hannigan

Dear Graduate Students:

In an effort to provide ongoing communication and before we resume academic courses online on Monday, March 23, I wanted to reach out to share some updates with the Potsdam graduate student community. We realize the rapidly changing situation has created many questions. The University continues to monitor local, state, and federal guidelines. 

Clarkson University will be complying with Governor Cuomo’s new directive* for all New Yorkers.   There will be no employees or students on the Potsdam, CRC or Beacon campuses effective 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 22 without authorization until further notice. There will be no access to offices, labs or other building facilities for individuals who are not approved to be on campus after this time. 

Prior communications have outlined academic and research protocols but I also wanted to make graduate students aware of a variety of support services available on campus and in the Potsdam community.  

Teaching Assistants

Many of our teaching assistants had planned to support instruction remotely, however, due to the recent announcement by the Governor, instruction will not be permitted on campus (click here for the message to faculty) so those supporting courses planned to be delivered in a classroom or those recording lab demonstrations, etc., will not be coming to campus.  Teaching assistants should reach out to their instructor to work on a plan to continue to support instruction which must now be entirely via distance.

Research Assistants

As a result of the New York State PAUSE rule, the faculty received a message notifying them that only critical research activities requiring on-campus presence will be allowed.  This means, for the vast majority of graduate students, your research will transition to the work that can be done via distance (e.g., data analysis, reading papers, writing).  Faculty who have research activities that require on-campus presence to maintain critical functions have been asked to submit a research continuity plan to the Provost. No one in a research group is allowed on campus after 8pm Sunday, March 22 without the permission of the Provost and Human Resources. Your faculty research mentor will be in touch regarding plans to shut down and/or severely reduce on-campus research. Lab groups may work on campus until 8pm March 22 to complete the shutdown of work. After this time, if a faculty member or their designee such as a graduate student, must be on campus they can only be on campus for specified times/days as noted in their approved continuity plan and must maintain social distancing protocols at all times.  If you have any questions regarding your research group plans, reach out to your research mentor. If you have questions about an approved plan and your role as defined therein, please contact the Dean of the Graduate School.

Ongoing Support Information & Services

  • Shuttle Services – The University shuttle expects to continue. A revised schedule will be available later this week. Please email Kristen Avery ( with questions. 
  • Student Services – Student support services are transitioning to remote-based appointments. We ask that you contact the office directly to schedule an appointment (i.e. Career Center, International Center, etc.).
  • Health Center & Urgent Care Services – For students who may find themselves or family members ill, please visit an Urgent Care Facility or Canton Potsdam Hospital.
  • COVID Information & Social Distancing – We encourage you to review the University recommendations and protective measures –   
  • Graduate Student Association (GSA) – The GSA serves as a voice to the graduate student community in its entirety for all campuses and programs. The organization seeks to improve the graduate student experience at Clarkson and provides numerous social and educational events each year –  

In addition, we know many graduate students are from out of the region, state, or country. Please know that we realize you may have additional and/or personal questions regarding support services within our region.  As members of the Clarkson Community, it is important that we all support one another. Please reach out to me, Dean of the Graduate School Kerop Janoyan, AVP of Student Affairs & Global Initiatives Jeff Taylor or your advisor with questions or if you are in need of support. We continue to follow local, state, and federal guidelines and continue to update the community. 

Robyn Hannigan, Provost

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