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University Issues Message re: Incivility in Online Classrooms


The University has issued a message to the community regarding incivility in online classrooms. Signed by Minghua Zhang, Interim Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs; Judith Brown Clarke, Chief Diversity Officer; Richard J. Gatteau, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students; Charles L. Robbins, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success/Dean of the Undergraduate Colleges and Eric Wertheimer, Dean and Vice Provost of the Graduate School, the message reads as follows:

Coronavirus UpdateSome of you have raised concerns about offensive and inappropriate content being shared in your Zoom classrooms. It is unfortunate that you have to deal with these issues, on top of leaving campus, taking classes online, and worrying about your health and that of your loved ones. Thank you for stepping forward. These occurrences are unacceptable and run counter to our core institutional values. 

Stony Brook University, like universities around the country, is actively working to address and prevent these instances of Zoom Intruding in our classes and meetings. We remain as committed as ever to maintaining an inclusive, welcoming, and respectful learning environment for all of our students, no matter the class format. 

You are a valued member of our diverse community. Our students, faculty, and staff represent all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, and abilities — and we benefit from all perspectives. We are committed to maintaining the dignity, respect, and fair treatment of all members of our community. Any action that stigmatizes an individual or a group of people, including expressions of xenophobia, will not be tolerated. 

The Code of Student Responsibility applies on and off campus. Any student who is found to behave inappropriately in these online platforms will be held accountable. If you have been targeted or experienced discrimination of any kind, including xenophobia, report these incidents to the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.  

We have made significant and universal changes to Zoom accounts for all faculty and staff. These changes aim to prevent non-SBU individuals from joining classes and meetings, and they will have a minor impact on your Zoom experience:

  • To join a class, you will have to log in using your SBU credentials
  • Do not share Zoom links with others or post links on social media
  • Only instructors will have the ability to share their screens; if you are expected to give a presentation, your instructor will give you access as needed 
  • Zoom classes are recorded. Offensive activities will be reviewed and addressed through our student conduct process. 
  • Faculty can also remove disruptive participants who are having a detrimental effect on the learning environment.

We expect everyone to work together to keep our classrooms safe and productive. Most importantly, if something happens in one of your classes, please ReportIt. It is our goal to ensure a collaborative and respectful learning environment for all.

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