University’s Efforts Include Special Courses, Volunteer and Fundraising Campaigns

New York University today announced that it expects to enroll approximately 100 students from Gulf Coast colleges and universities unable to attend classes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; notification of students began yesterday and is continuing today. The students come from Tulane University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Loyola University, Delgado Community College, and the University of New Orleans. There will be a special orientation session for the students and their parents tomorrow at 5:30pm, and the students will start classes next week.

Almost all of the students have family homes in the New York metro region. Most will attend programs at NYU’s Washington Square Campus, with a small number going on to University’s “NYU in London” program.

“It reflects great credit on these young men and women that, confronted with a terrible act of nature that threatened to suspend their college education, they did not supinely accept their fate; instead, their thirst for knowledge impelled them to find a place to go on learning,” said John Sexton, NYU’s president. “We are very pleased to welcome them to our campus.”

“The spirit of the NYU community in responding to Katrina greatly reminds me of the spirit that prevailed in the aftermath of 9/11 - a spirit of generosity, of resolve, and of shared sacrifice. From the faculty members who have stepped forward volunteering to teach these students, to the NYU students who have traveled to Texas to help the refugees and raise relief funds, to the people in the admissions office who have worked so hard to try to help dislocated students, I am very proud of our community.”

The students were accepted as special visiting students, not as transfers or degree-seeking students, in accordance with the wishes of their home institutions. The University will not seek tuition from the students and their families, but will, in fact, work out any resulting financial arrangements with the students’ home institutions once they are again operating.

Displaced graduate students and postdocs are advised to contact individual departments within NYU’s schools and colleges, including the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, which has created a simple application form for potential graduate students, which will be forwarded to individual departments for prompt action.

Special Academics and Scholarship

In response to NYU’s decision to admit students from Gulf Coast schools, two senior faculty members stepped forward and volunteered to undertake additional special assignments related to the incoming students and the events along the Gulf Coast:

  • Mitchell Moss, a professor in the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a special adviser to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will teach “The Politics of New York”.
  • John Sexton, president of New York University and the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law, will teach “The Supreme Court and the Religion Clauses: Religion and State in America.”
  • In addition, Craig Calhoun, a professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science’s Sociology Department and president of the prestigious Social Science Research Council, will conduct a “University Dialogue” open to the entire NYU community on the issues raised by the New Orleans catastrophe. The event will be held in conjunction with NYU’s Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response.
  • David Dent, a professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science Journalism Department, is leading his undergraduate class of 10 students to Houston this weekend (Sept. 9-11) to cover the aftermath of the hurricane. The course, “On the Road in the City,” is consistent with the department’s mission of blending realistic engagement with practical enterprise.
Outreach to NYU Students

The Division of Student Affairs has reached out to every NYU student whose home, as reflected in the University’s records, is in the area affected by Katrina to let him or her know about available assistance and resources; NYU’s individual schools and colleges have also reached out to these students to offer support. A designated staff person in the Office of Financial Aid will handle issues or problems faced by students whose families have been affected by the storm. In addition, two University student support offices, the Wellness Exchange and the Student Resource Center, are available to provide help, guidance, and support for NYU students from the affected areas.

Volunteer Efforts and Fundraising

Humanitarian support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina has taken a number of forms, including:

  • An effort by the Student Senators Council to organize and coordinate the numerous student initiated fundraising and volunteer efforts on campus;
  • A trip to Houston by a group of students from the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life to assist refugees from the New Orleans area;
  • A decision by the University to allow paid leaves to faculty and staff wishing to volunteer with recognized organizations in the region, provided they can make arrangements with their departmental chairs or supervisors to ensure that their professional responsibilities are met;
  • The University will begin working on arrangements to enable students wishing to participate in volunteer efforts in the Gulf Coast region to do so during their breaks in the academic year;
  • The offer of a loan of NYU’s Dental Van to Louisiana State University to assist them in their clinical training, and offers to accommodate LSU faculty and students here in New York; and
  • An offer by the NYU Medical Center to provide acute care and orthopedic beds to patients from the Gulf Coast, and to accommodate Tulane medical students and residents. The Medical Center is also making available a pool of doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers, able to fly down to the region at a moment’s notice.

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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John Beckman
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