Harvard and Katrina

September 2, 2005

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

The devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina have stunned us all. The

loss of life, destruction of property, and unimaginably severe

conditions that remain in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

are profoundly saddening. Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies are

with all those who have suffered from the storm and its aftermath. How

can we as a university help? Let me outline several ways.

First, we are contacting our undergraduate and graduate students who

live in the region to offer any assistance we can in helping them

arrive safely for the fall term. We also stand ready to lend support

to any member of the Faculty or staff who has family members displaced

by the storm. Any faculty or staff in need of such support should

contact my office at 617-495-1566.

Second, Harvard College will admit 25 additional students from colleges

and universities that will not reopen this term due to the storm into

our Visiting Undergraduate Student Program for the Fall Semester.

Applications will be processed on an expedited basis. No tuition will

be charged. On-campus housing will be provided on a space-available

basis and priority will be given to students rendered homeless by the

storm. Students interested in being considered for the Visiting

Undergraduate Program should contact Marlene Vergara Rotner in the

Office of Admissions at 617-495-9707 or vus@fas.harvard.edu.

Third, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will admit into the

Special Student Program for the Fall Semester, 25 additional students

from colleges and universities that will not reopen this term due to

the storm. As in the case of Visiting Undergraduates, applications

will be processed rapidly, and no tuition will be charged. Students

interested in being considered by the Special Student Program should

contact Sue Wood at 617-495-5392 or swood@fas.harvard.edu.

Fourth, the Harvard Extension School, which has led Harvard’s outreach

efforts for more than a century, will allow enrollment in up to four of

its fall courses to those students living within commuting distance who

would normally be attending college in the flooded areas. For those

students who are not within commuting distance of the campus, HES will

make available enrollment in any of its 36 fall online courses. In

either case, HES will waive the tuition for these students and require

only the $50 registration fee. Scholarships for online courses are

limited. Further, high school students from the flooded region who can

come to the Boston area and live with relatives may enroll in Extension

School courses that meet AP requirements, such as Introduction to

Calculus, introductory science course, and introductory language

courses. Students interested in these opportunities should contact

Christine Santos at 617-495-5850 or santos@hudce.harvard.edu.

President Summers is posting on the University website a letter in

which he will outline efforts across Harvard, including the

establishment of a fund to assist victims of the hurricane. Let me

suggest a further way you can help. If you are in a position to house

a visiting student for the fall semester, you would do that student,

and this Faculty, a great service. If you can assist in this way,

please contact Anna-Lisa Plant in the Harvard College Dean’s Office at

617-496-0265 or aplant@fas.harvard.edu.

Finally, please help to spread the word about these opportunities to

colleagues and friends in the affected colleges and universities.

Given that our classes do not begin until Monday, September 19, there

is still time. But we must move quickly. Now is the moment to show

solidarity with our sister institutions who are in such need.

With all best wishes,


William C. Kirby

Edith and Benjamin Geisinger Professor of History and Dean of the

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

A copy of this letter is available at the FAS website:


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