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Dean’s Date postponed until May 10 amid student mental health crisis

<h5>1879 Hall and the lawn in front of Frist Campus Center.</h5>
<h6>Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
1879 Hall and the lawn in front of Frist Campus Center.
Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian

Dean’s Date will be postponed from May 5 until May 10, according to a memo from Dean of the College Jill Dolan sent to all undergraduate students Friday morning.

This announcement comes following the death of Kevin Chang ’23 on April 28 and an all-time high in appointments with Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) in March.

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The extension was approved by the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing, with support from several University administrators.

“I write with concern about the increase in student distress at the end of this enormously difficult year,” began Dolan’s email. The memo comes after numerous calls from students for administrative action on mental health throughout the semester, which referenced the shortened spring break and reading period as among the many stressors this semester. 

“We’re all devastated by Kevin Chang ’23’s tragic death,” Dolan wrote. “This loss makes the completion of a challenging semester that much more stressful and painful. My colleagues and I understand your grief and dismay.”

Dolan’s memo also referenced an email to all undergraduates and senior administrators from Undergraduate Student Government President Christian Potter ’22 asking faculty to “consider students’ mental health after losing a classmate heading into reading period and final examinations and make necessary adjustments.”

“I’ve also asked faculty to consider anything additional they might do in their teaching and advising to support you as you complete your work,” Dolan wrote.

Potter told The Daily Princetonian he felt “the response from administrators was overwhelmingly supportive and receptive.”

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“So far, I’ve heard lots of positive reactions from many students. This is clearly an unprecedented step in the face of unprecedented challenges,” he added. 

The final exam period, which is scheduled to take place between May 6 and May 14, will not be changed. According to Dolan’s memo, the high number of take-home exams will allow students to “manage your workloads idiosyncratically, even though Dean’s Date will now push into exam week.” At the start of the semester, faculty were encouraged to schedule take-home exams for the Spring 2021 semester.

Dolan’s memo echoed recent emails from the University, urging students feeling “overwhelmed” to reach out to their residential college dean, director of studies, and director of student life.

This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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