Dear Colleagues and Students,
As much as Hurricane Katrina disrupted our lives and the
first few days of classes here at the University of Miami,
we are all so very thankful that we were spared the devastation
that has besieged the Gulf Coast states. The stories and images
that are coming out of that part of the country are heartbreaking
-- human tragedies of epic proportions.
While institutions of higher education can be intensely competitive
at times, a disaster like this knits us together as one community.
The administration, faculty, staff, and students of the University
of Miami have close bonds with our colleagues at other institutions.
We are reaching out to them to do whatever we can to help
them get through this very difficult time. I'd like to update
you briefly on some of the things we're doing to help our
colleagues in neighboring states.
The University of Miami is receiving numerous calls from
students from universities such as Tulane and Loyola that
have been seriously affected by Hurricane Katrina. As of Thursday
morning, more than 400 inquiries have been received from students
displaced by the hurricane, most of them from Florida and
many of them from South Florida. Clearly, we want to do everything
possible to help our community and to help these young people
stay on track with their plans for a college education. It's
the right thing to do.
We are making every effort to accommodate undergraduate students
on a case-by-case basis as non-degree seeking students. We
are enrolling them, but not formally admitting them, since
our assumption is that they will eventually return to their
home institutions. They are being enrolled based on seat availability
in classrooms and based on our ability to identify classes
that they need for their degree programs. We will not be able
to accommodate these students in on-campus housing. Please
refer any inquiries regarding undergraduates to Deanna Voss
in the Office of Admission at 305-284-5673.
The University will not profit in any way from accommodating
any of these students. The students will pay tuition; however,
the tuition dollars will be held in escrow for eventual disbursement
to their home institutions.
Additionally, the School of Law and the Miller School of
Medicine are allowing a limited number of students to sit
in on classes, since enrolling these students is not feasible.
Please refer inquiries regarding the School of Law to Bill
Vanderwyden at 305-284-4551. The Association of American Medical
Colleges is coordinating the many offers of help from medical
schools around the country; inquiries regarding the Miller
School of Medicine may be directed to their Dr. Robert Hernandez
Many of you have expressed a desire to make donations to
relief efforts. The best and easiest way to do this is through
the University's United Way campaign. You may direct your
contribution to any nonprofit organization, such as the American
Red Cross, through a United Way gift. If you'd like to make
a donation or discuss a possible fundraising initiative, please
contact UM's United Way campaign director, Pat Grewe, at 305-284-6348.
Our University family is also organizing a number of outreach
activities. The Butler Volunteer Services Center, under the
leadership of Keith Fletcher, is working closely with the
American Red Cross to coordinate relief efforts. I might also
add that both FSU president T.K. Wetherell and I have taped
public service announcements that will be aired during Monday
night's football game on ABC, encouraging donations to the
American Red Cross. Funds to support relief efforts will be
collected at the game.
I want to thank everyone for all that you have done during
the past week to help the University endure Hurricane Katrina
and bounce back so quickly. You are all heroes, and we are
truly fortunate to be in a position to help others. We will
keep you informed.