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UConn opens doors to students affected by hurricane

by Karen A. Grava - September 7, 2005

UConn is offering students from Connecticut enrolled in colleges devastated by Hurricane Katrina the chance to study here for the fall semester, and is waiving all tuition-related charges.

The offer applies to students who wish to attend any campus of UConn, and up to 20 students from Tulane or Loyola law schools in New Orleans who wish to study at the UConn School of Law in Hartford. The University has already discussed the offer with more than three dozen students affected by the disaster.

The students will be treated as visiting students for the fall semester, while their own universities recover from the devastation of the hurricane.

“A natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina has an effect that goes far beyond the area immediately involved,” said University President Philip E. Austin. “As part of the national higher education community, the University of Connecticut can provide assistance in a variety of ways. It’s particularly appropriate that we can offer Connecticut’s own citizens studying in the areas devastated by Katrina the opportunity to continue their education uninterrupted.”

Connecticut students who were enrolled for the fall term at colleges and universities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were advised to apply for the special admissions program by calling the Admissions Office at 860-486-1478.

The University is also reaching out to students from hurricane-affected areas of the country who attend UConn. On Thursday, Dean of Students Lee Williams contacted a number of UConn students from the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi to offer help in communicating with relatives or identifying sources of emergency funds for educational or travel needs. UConn students in need of assistance can contact the dean of students at 860-486-3426.

“This was an event of unprecedented devastation,” said Austin. “The University is prepared to make resources available to help ease the unanticipated burdens some of our students may experience as a result of the storm’s impact.”

Provost Peter J. Nicholls sent an e-mail to members of the University community on Friday, encouraging them to show understanding to students affected by the hurricane.

He said 25 undergraduate students who were enrolled at a Gulf Coast institution would be joining the University. “I urge you to welcome them,” he wrote, “assist in their orientation to our academic community, and help them succeed in their classes despite their somewhat late enrollments.”

Nicholls also urged instructors and academic advisors to “show awareness and understanding of any family emergencies or stress that might affect the academic progress” of the 15 UConn graduate and undergraduate students from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

The University is organizing other types of assistance to support the relief efforts already underway. UConn’s Office of Community Outreach is coordinating the University’s response to Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s call for supplies to be delivered to Hartford by Sept. 9, when they will be trucked to the affected states.

The office is seeking donations of water, tents, blankets, non-perishable food snacks, diapers, and other goods.

Friday, several groups had already stepped forward.

The departments of dining services and transportation were setting up monetary collection sites on buses and in buildings.

And the executive board of the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association on Friday voted to contribute $1,494 worth of goods to the Office of Community Outreach’s effort, and to donate another $1,494 to the AFL-CIO’s Hurricane Relief Fund, which is working with labor federations in the affected states to help union colleagues who are struggling to rebuild their lives. The dollar amount UCPEA is contributing to each group represents the number of members in the union.

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