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UC Berkeley Web Feature

Campus officials paving the way for students displaced by hurricane to study at Berkeley

Hurricane Katrina

If you receive a call from a friend or relative who is trapped in the Katrina-afflicted region and needs to be rescued, please pass the information along immediately to the U.S. Coast Guard's Rescue Line at 800-323-7233

By Marie Felde, Public Affairs | 3 September 2005

BERKELEY — Reflecting a heartfelt commitment by the campus administration and a personal desire by staff members to help, admissions and housing officials are working this weekend to try to find a place at UC Berkeley for some of the university students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Late last week Chancellor Robert Birgeneau offered places at Berkeley for up to 50 undergraduate and graduate students unable to study at their home campuses this fall. In addition, Boalt Hall Dean Christopher Edley, with the support of the law school’s faculty, staff and alumni, has offered 20 second- and third-year law students, primarily from Tulane and Loyola universities, a chance to continue their studies at Boalt for the fall.

In addition to Tulane University, a member of the Association of American Universities, several smaller universities and colleges were also affected by flooding or other hurricane damage in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast regions. And while all are eager to get their campuses back to normal as soon as possible, universities from around the country have offered to help their displaced students with temporary homes.

Following recommendations from the AAU, eligible students will be admitted to UC Berkeley on visiting status so that they remain students of their home institutions, said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Gray. "This arrangement will also ensure their access to Berkeley’s academic and student support services," he said.

"We hope that everyone will be as flexible and accommodating as possible so that we may get these students here and in their courses as soon as possible. We expect that our fifty spaces will be filled by early next week," said Gray.

He noted that inquires from affected students should be directed to undergradhelp@berkeley.edu for undergraduate admissions and to grad.help@berkeley.edu for graduate students.

In all cases, experienced admissions counselors are advising students on a case-by-case basis and discussing their options with them. Because several majors are already filled to the brim at Berkeley, some students may wish to go to another UC campus or to other California colleges where classes will be more readily available to them.

Housing is another issue, as all of the campus residence halls are filled to capacity. But campus staff, faculty and students believe that there will be more than enough volunteers coming forward to offer housing, so that it was not considered a roadblock to inviting the displaced students immediately. Because classes are already underway, getting students to Berkeley and into classes in the coming week was the highest priority.

At Boalt Hall, some students from Tulane and Loyola will be arriving for classes as early as Tuesday. As of late Friday, 10 students had said they were coming and offers were out to 10 others.

In addition to opening spaces for some students, the campus continues to seek ways to offer assistance, expertise and support to those who have suffered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

At Saturday’s football game, a moment of silence honored those who lost their lives in the wake Hurricane Katrina, and a collection for the Red Cross was held. Officers with the Associated Students of the University of California said Friday they are committed to helping hurricane victims and are working to determine the best way to help.

Meanwhile, UC Berkeley faculty are mobilizing to provide their expertise, including help in restoring the damaged levees of New Orleans and assisting with the rebuilding of housing and the oil production infrastructure.

Finally, recognizing that as many as 70 current Berkeley students as well as many faculty and staff members may have family who have been directly affected by the hurricane, the University Health Service has set up counseling help at the Tang Center for all who wish it.

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