Katrina and Higher Ed

by Eszter Hargittai on September 2, 2005

Being in academia, I’ve been particularly curious to hear news about colleges and universities in the region. The Chronicle of Higher Education has set up a Katrina Update page. The Forum page has additional information.



alex 09.02.05 at 7:02 pm

I’m a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and here’s an email sent out by the President of UT, Larry Faulkner:

The University of Texas at Austin stands with the nation in expressing our sorrow in this time of terrible tragedy in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. We are committed to providing temporary help this fall to colleges and universities in the New Orleans area which are unable to operate while they are attempting to recover and rebuild. To assist university students and faculty who have been affected by the disaster of catastrophic proportions in our neighboring states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, The University of Texas at Austin is taking the following emergency steps, effective immediately.

The following policies apply to students who were enrolling or enrolled in colleges or universities in the area of greatest disaster impact and are likely to remain closed for an extended period.

• Undergraduate students who are Texas residents or graduates from Texas high schools will be eligible to take available undergraduate courses at the University for the fall 2005 semester.

• Graduate and professional students who are Texas residents or graduates of Texas colleges and universities will be eligible take available graduate courses at the University for the fall 2005 semester.

• Graduate students who have no need for coursework but who need to use libraries and research facilities will be eligible to use appropriate University facilities.

• Foreign exchange students will be eligible to take available courses at the University for the fall 2005 semester if the University has a formal exchange agreement with the students’ home institutions.

The details of these policies can be found at the Web sites of the Office of Admissions and the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

In addition, faculty members of colleges and universities in the affected disaster areas will be offered the opportunity to work on our campus, with access to office space, libraries, research facilities, and the Internet.

These temporary measures are intended to help students and faculty colleagues in a time of unprecedented disaster. The University of Texas at Austin is firmly committed to aiding the affected higher education institutions in any way possible as they seek to recover from the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina.

We are also concerned about University of Texas at Austin students who have been affected by this disaster. Those students who need assistance with University matters or matters of a more personal nature are urged to contact LaToya Hill, Emergency Services Coordinator, Office of the Dean of Students, at lchill@mail.utexas.edu. They may also visit the Dean of Students Web site at http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/ and go to the “Spotlights and Events” link on that site.

Larry R. Faulkner
The University of Texas at Austin


A. G. Rud 09.02.05 at 7:32 pm

Dartmouth is offering temporary admission to qualified undergrad from colleges affected, and has set up this blog: http://dartmouthkatrina.blogspot.com/.


David 09.02.05 at 7:45 pm

The Dartmouth approach is pretty much standard around the country, having been set by a coalition of the major higher ed associations. The Tulane website, http://www.tulane.edu/ , has full info. I should also mention that the History News Network has set up a site for the Tulane History Department’s faculty and students: http://hnn.us/blogs/45.html .


gzombie 09.02.05 at 7:53 pm

Responses from schools in the University System of Missouri.


Susan M. Turner 09.02.05 at 10:13 pm

“And the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
In the meantime, in between time,

ain’t we got fun.”

Nice to see all the rich kids who were able to get out will not see their privileges unduly interrupted. Phew.


coturnix 09.02.05 at 10:38 pm

UNC system is taking in students.


daran 09.03.05 at 12:09 am

Question. Where are, say, the LSU students and other people who are safe and not in dire straights?

The people in NO living (and dying) on the highways and under the overpasses outside the city are waiting for help that is. not. coming. I’m not talking about the hell in the dome and CC. I’m talking about the people I saw on Nightline tonight that I didn’t know existed: thousands more (many delivered from helicopters) to the highway outside the city wasting away.

Are not people horrified enough by the sight of babies and elderly and athsmatics and mothers and fathers cooking, starving, wasting away just down the road? Could people not drive as close as possible and hike in some water and food for these poor people?

Jesus! I’m willing to drive 24 hours there just to hand a mother some formula and diapers for her dying baby. People need to take things into their own hands and get shit done. We obviously have the most dysfunctional federal government imagineable (9/11, Iraq, Katrina).

Would people on foot with supplies be stopped from getting to the rotting folks on the highway?

When will able-bodied folk get desperate enough to help our dying brothers and sisters? Is America watching the worst disaster in US history or no?

Ted, my donation receipt is coming your way!


Jonathan Derbyshire 09.03.05 at 4:46 am

A friend who knows someone who teaches at Tulane emailed to say this:

“Tulane officially cancelled fall semester yesterday. They have cobbled out agreements with other institutions in the area, which will accept Tulane students. But that means those institutions keep all or a large part of the fees meant for Tulane, and one must also imagine that attrition will be very high–many students will make friends, get comfortable, and stay wherever they’ve gone. This means Tulane will be facing an even more serious economic crisis than that implied by rebuilding whatever was destroyed, etc. Under such circumstances, even tenured facutly could face termination.”


gzombie 09.03.05 at 7:07 am

Susan, why would you be a troll about this?

In addition to private schools like Loyola University, Tulane University, and Xavier University (the latter of which is the only historically black Catholic university in the nation), there are the public University of New Orleans, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, and Southern University of New Orleans.

Does it make you feel better to mock smugly the people affiliated with these institutions who have now had their worlds turned upside down? Well, that’s nice for you. We all have our ways of dealing with grief, I suppose.


Tim 09.03.05 at 10:33 am


Jim Milles 09.03.05 at 10:44 am

Almost every law school in the US is offering to admit displaced students from Tulane and Loyola-NO as visiting students, at no charge. The list is at http://www.aals.org/neworleans/schoolsbystate.html


Claire Bowern 09.03.05 at 11:02 am

Actually, Jonathan, the host institutions don’t get the fees. Students who’ve already paid Tulane for the fall semester won’t be charged anything; those who haven’t yet paid will pay the host institution what they would have paid their home institution, and there is an expectation that the hosts will pass that on (this is from the American Council of Higher Education’s web site).

I don’t think the students will be able to “stay wherever they’ve gone” – it’s an ad hoc arrangement for a single semester. If they want to stay permanently they’d have to apply for transfer in the usual way.

At this stage, Xavier has not cancelled fall classes and students from Loyala are being hosted by SMU.

Rice is also hosting Houston-area Tulane students and as “not averse” to making emergency sabbatical arrangements for faculty on an ad hoc basis. (Anyone this affects should contact me about this.)


jb 09.03.05 at 7:29 pm

as someone more or less professionally required to be up on various responses to katrina by higher education, i have to say the most comprehensively helpful resource is scup’s katrina list. “case’s crisisxchange”:http://ws1.case.org/cgi-bin/wa.exe?SUBED1=crisisxchange&A=1 has also proven pretty useful.

claire is correct that the institutions taking on crisis-affected students won’t be receiving any tuition dollars (for the most part – a few of the early offers didn’t specify that explicitly.) as far the length of the arrangements, well, that varies. some are saying a single semester, some a year. after which point, presumably, a student will either return to his original institution or formally apply to transfer to his benefactor institution.

as a side note, several schools are looking to take on affected faculty and staff in limited numbers as well. here’s one, chosen nearly at random:

bq. Rensselaer [Polytechnic Institute] has also offered to accommodate a faculty member or student life professional from these universities to assist in creating the conditions necessary for the students’ success.

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