The Student Health Center stresses that all Rensselaer students are responsible for knowing and complying with the Institute's current health- and safety-related requirements.

PDF copies of Student Health Policies

Institute Policies and Procedures

The purpose of Rensselaer's Advanced Directives policy is to support a patient’s right to identify and/or designate a personal representative to act on their behalf with respect to health care decisions and uses and disclosures of personal health information by the Student Health Center (SHC), should the patient be incapacitated and unable to make decisions regarding their care and treatment.

The Student Health Center supports patients' rights to make these decisions regarding their personal treatment or non-treatment, and as such will accept formal documentation of any advance directives. Examples of such documentation include:

  • Health Care Surrogate Designation
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Living Will
  • Anatomical Donation
  • Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (DNR)

When the Student Health Center is aware that an advance directive has been issued for a patient, a copy of the advanced directive(s) will be scanned into the patient’s electronic medical record and an alert will be placed in their electronic medical record.

Please note that anatomical donations, living wills, and DNR documents will be filed at the Student Health Center but will not be honored in their facility.

When a patient with an advance directive(s) is transferred to another healthcare facility, a copy of the advance directive(s) will be provided to the receiving facility.

Additional Resources

Rensselaer places a high priority on the health and safety of all members of the campus community – students, faculty, staff and visitors –  and strives to provide an environment where all students are able to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

At the same time, we face stark realities regarding the harm often caused by the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs in communities around us and on our campus. In light of the risks and dangers presented by the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs by students, Rensselaer develops, promulgates, and enforces policies, procedures and accountabilities that reflect its institutional values.

The Institute’s aim is to maintain an alcohol and other drug policy that is clear in its expectations; applies in an appropriate manner across student residential and organizational affiliations; informs and educates individuals with regard to the policy and the risk factors associated with use or abuse; creates an environment that promotes safety and individual accountability; and maintains a healthy campus community where problems associated with alcohol and other drugs are minimal.

The overall philosophy of the Institute is that individuals and organizations in the Rensselaer community are responsible for their own actions. When making decisions to consume an alcoholic beverage or to provide alcoholic beverages to others, individuals and organizations must be mindful of the inherent consequences and risks involved. In addition, they are responsible for understanding and complying with applicable laws. The Institute will not shield individuals or organizations from the legal consequences of their actions should they choose to violate these laws.

For more information, please refer to the "Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy" located on page 20 of the The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities, which can be found on the Rensselaer Dean of Students website.

Also note that a Request for Alcohol Permit form is available to those who wish to serve beer, wine, and/or liquor at their on-campus event. Return the completed form to the Student Health Center via email.

Reporting, Investigation and Resolution Procedures for Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation on the Basis of Disability

It is the policy of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to prohibit discrimination, harassment and retaliation on the basis of disability consistent with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) and other applicable laws related to disability. Rensselaer also adheres to the policy of prohibiting retaliation for any individual who reports, files a complaint, testifies against and/or participates in any manner of an investigation of, or proceedings involving allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation on the basis of disability.

The Office of Disability Services for Students (DSS) has been designated to coordinate the efforts of the Institute’s compliance with Section 504 for students. In addition, Rensselaer's Division of Human Resources maintains an Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Coordinator, who coordinates the Institute’s compliance with disability-related laws for faculty and staff members.

Any student, prospective student, faculty member, staff member, applicant for employment or other third party who wishes to submit a request for an accommodation based on a disability, or who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of disability may submit an accommodation request or file a complaint under the procedure outlined below.


Requests for an accommodation based on a disability or complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation on the basis of disability of may be submitted to either to Rensselaer’s ADA Coordinator by e-mail, or to DSS by e-mail.

A complaint should contain as much of the following information as possible, such as:

  • The name, address, and phone number of the person making the request or filing the report;
  • The name of the person or persons allegedly causing the discrimination, harassment or retaliation;
  • A description of the incident(s), including the date(s), location(s), and the presence of any witnesses;
  • The alleged effect of the incident(s) on the complainant’s employment or academic status;
  • The names of other employees and/or students who might have been subject to the same or similar discrimination, harassment or retaliation;
  • Any steps taken to try to stop the discrimination, harassment or retaliation;
  • The remedy, relief or accommodation sought; and
  • Any other information the reporting person believes to be relevant to the discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

The ADA Coordinator (or her/his designee) will attempt to resolve the matter, and, where warranted, investigate the matter.

All investigative determinations of discrimination, harassment or retaliation will use the preponderance of the evidence standard.

Appeals of an investigative determination are handled in accordance with the Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities for students and the Human Resources Policy Guidelines Manual for faculty and staff members.

Inquiries or complaints concerning the application of Section 504 may be referred to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

In order to preserve medical appointments for students who are in true need of medical care, the Student Health Center limits the writing of medical excuses to specific conditions and will not issue excuses for past illness and injuries. Students who miss class due to an illness are encouraged to contact their professors regarding class absence, missed work, and make-up work, just as they would an employer.

Students are encouraged to communicate directly with faculty regarding class attendance and/or completion of class assignments when the illness or injury does not meet the criteria outlined below.

Medical Excuses Given

Working with Rensselaer's Student Success Office, the Student Health Center will authorize official excuses for illnesses that significantly impair daily functioning or require isolation, immediate testing or referral, hospitalization and surgery.

Medical Excuses Denied

The Student Health Center will not give medical excuses for missing classes and/or tests due to common minor illnesses or other illnesses that do not significantly impair normal daily functioning.

Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

As a student accessing treatment from the Student Health Services department you have the right, consistent with the law, to:

  1. Understand and use these rights. If for any reason, you do not understand or you need help, Rensselaer will provide assistance, including an interpreter.
  2. Receive treatment without discrimination as to age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, veteran status, marital status or disability.
  3. Receive considerate and respectful care in a clean and safe environment free of unnecessary restraints.
  4. Be seen by the practitioner of your choice if he/she has scheduled time available.
  5. Change practitioners without question or retaliation.
  6. Be informed of the name and position of the health care provider who treats you.
  7. Know the names, positions, and functions of any staff involved in your care and refuse their treatment, examination or observation.
  8. Receive complete information, as far as is known, about your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
  9. Receive all the information that you need to give informed consent for any proposed procedure or treatment. This information shall include the possible risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment.
  10. Refuse treatment and be told what effect this may have on your health.
  11. Refuse to take in part in research. In deciding whether or not to participate, you have the right to a full explanation.
  12. Privacy while in the office and confidentiality, within the law, of all information and records regarding your care.
  13. Participate in all decisions about your treatment.
  14. Provide an advanced directive.
  15. Review your medical record, as provided by law, without charge and obtain a copy of your medical record for which the Student Health Center can charge a reasonable fee. You cannot be denied a copy solely because you cannot afford to pay.
  16. Complain without fear of reprisals about the care and services you are receiving and to have the Student Medical Services respond to you and if you request it, a written response. Complaints, suggestions or compliments may be directed via email to the Patient Advocate or the Executive Director.

Your responsibilities as a patient:

  1. You have a responsibility to be courteous to staff and other patients. People accompanying you share this responsibility with you.
  2. You have the responsibility to observe the rules of the Institute -- especially the rules of safety.
  3. You have the responsibility to keep your appointments and be on time or to call and reschedule or cancel them so another can use the time.
  4. You have the responsibility to give a complete and accurate medical history, and to promptly report any changes or additions.
  5. You have the responsibility to follow the mutually agreed-upon prescribed course of your treatment, and to inform your doctor, nurse or other health care provider of any improvement or deterioration in your health related to this course of treatment.
  6. You have the responsibility to pay your bills promptly; to provide the necessary insurance information for processing them, and to ask any questions you have about them as soon as possible.

This policy was implemented in order to equip Rensselaer's main residential dining facilities with the ability to provide backup administration of epinephrine to students who have known anaphylactic reactions to certain food products and who may occasionally forget to carry their personal epinephrine auto-injectors.  The policy also provides a layer of response for students who may have an allergic reaction for the first time to previously unknown food allergens.


  1. All students who disclose that they have a food allergy will be offered a one-on-one meeting with  Hospitality Services' registered dietician, who can assist the student with meal planning and remind them of the importance of carrying their own epinephrine auto- injector if their allergic reaction has been significant in the past.
  2. Two auto-injectors will be stored in each of Rensselaer's four main residential dining facilities: BARH, Blitman, Commons and Russell Sage.
  3. The auto-injectors will be purchased and supplied to each residential dining hall by Student Health Services.
  4. The registered dietician will monitor expiration date and let Student Health services know when to provide replacement auto-injectors.
  5. The auto-injectors will be stored in an agreed upon location for ease of access to designated hospitality services staff.
  6. Designated Hospitality Services staff will be trained to recognize anaphylaxis symptoms and on administering the epinephrine auto-injectors by the medical staff from Student Health Services. Trainings of newly hired designated staff may be set up by contacting Student Health services on a rolling schedule.
  7. The Student Health Services will present an annual review of anaphylactic symptoms and auto- injector use to all designated staff each August.


Follow this procedure in the event of a student or other customer suffering an anaphylactic reaction:

  1. Staff person notices or has attention called to a student/customer having symptoms of anaphylaxis (see FARE’s Recognize and Respond to Anaphylaxis poster page 3)
  2. Staff person calls to second staff member to get and inform the manager on duty and then stays with the student/customer trying to calm them.
  3. Once informed, the manager on duty gets the epinephrine auto-injectors and asks another staff member to call 911 immediately, then takes the auto-injectors to the student's/customer's side.
  4. The manager should always proceed on the assumption that the student/customer is having a significant allergic reaction.
  5. The manager will ask the student/customer if they have their own epinephrine device, and if so, will recommend the individual use it immediately.
  6. If the student/customer does not have their own device but is familiar with them, the manager will offer them the opportunity to administer the stock auto-injector themselves.
  7. If the student/customer is unresponsive, confused or partially conscious, or if they are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable using the device, the manager/designated staff will administer the epinephrine.
  8. The epinephrine auto-injector is administered by holding the auto-injector firmly with your fist in the middle of the auto-injector. Do not put any part of your hand over either end to avoid an accidental trigger; an auto-injector is a single-use device and once triggered it cannot be re-used.
  9. Similarly, avoid placing your finger over either end to avoid accidentally triggering the device. Pull off the activation cap, located at the opposite end from the orange tip that holds the needle.
  10. Place the orange tip against the patient's thigh and hold firmly, There should be a click once the needle has entered the thigh.
  11. Hold the device firmly against the patient's thigh for five seconds. Do not inject in any other place than the thigh.
  12. The student/customer should not be left alone pending the arrival of RPI or Troy ambulance services, both of which carry epinephrine with them; RPI ambulance staff has been trained on injecting epinephrine.
  13. Do not allow the student/customer to stand or walk. If they are standing, ask them to sit on the ground or lower them to the ground if they are unable to sit on their own.
  14. If the symptoms have not started to improve in five minutes, the manager or any emergency response crew who have arrived should administer a second epinephrine auto-injector, and the student/customer should be sent with emergency services to a hospital emergency room for further observation/care.
  15. Report the reaction to Rensselaer Public Safety and well as to Rensselaer Hospitality Services' Registered Dietician.
  16. If possible, take note of what foods were involved in creating the reaction.
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