Below is a memo from Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, on the University’s relief efforts:
Assistance to Displaced Students:
By the end of last week, the University had enrolled a total of 104 students from the colleges and universities on the Gulf Coast affected by Hurricane Katrina. Of these students, 74 have been admitted to our undergraduate schools; 28 second- and third-year students have been admitted to the Law School; one has been admitted to the Graduate School of Business; and one has been admitted to the Graduate School of Social Service. (Although the vast majority of the students whom we have welcomed to our campuses are from either Loyola of New Orleans or Tulane, there are a small number of students from the other affected colleges and universities.) Moreover, as a result of the generosity of a number of students who volunteered to take in “hurricane triples,” we have been able to offer space in our residence halls to all of the displaced students who requested housing.
The Law School conducted a special orientation session for the visiting students whom it admitted last week; the undergraduate schools will conduct their targeted orientation sessions later this week. (Our faculty, staff and students, however, have not waited for formal orientation sessions to make our guests feel at home. Far from it. They have gone out of their way to reach out to them and to help them adjust to life at Fordham.)
Assistance to the Colleges and Universities on the Gulf Coast:
As you know, the entire American higher educational community is concerned about the effects that the storm will have on the long-term viability of the colleges and universities on the Gulf Coast. Therefore, the national educational associations in Washington (e.g., ACE, NAICU, ACCU, AJCU, etc.) have developed a series of guidelines and protocols for dealing with the students affected by the hurricane.
In accord with these protocols:
a. Fordham has not charged tuition and room fees to those students who have already paid their fees for the semester at their home institutions. We have, however, charged them for board, fees and incidental expenses.
b. While we will do all that we can to make these students feel at home on our campuses, we will also do all that we can to encourage them to return to their home campuses at the end of the Fall Semester so that the long-term prospects of those schools are not harmed in any way.
Fordham’s Hurricane Relief Fund:
As of 12 September, the members of the University community had donated $38,740 to the Hurricane Relief Fund that I established two weeks ago. (When combined with the $25,000 start-up grant that I made from the President’s Discretionary Fund, the University’s Relief Fund now stands at more than $63,000.) Since the immediate needs of the people affected and displaced by the hurricane are so great, we will send our first contributions to the American Red Cross and Catholic Charities USA by the end of this week.
We will not, however, stop there. In light of the magnitude of the devastation suffered by our brothers and sisters in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, we will continue our efforts to collect money for them for the next six weeks. If you would like to contribute to the fund, I would ask you to send your contributions to the “Fordham Hurricane Relief Fund” c/o Mr. John Lordan, The Office of the Treasurer, The Administration Building, Fordham University, Bronx, New York 10458.
Honoring the Victims:
As it has throughout these past two difficult weeks, the University community will continue to pray for all of the victims of Hurricane Katrina — both living and dead. Moreover, as a sign of our respect and sorrow for those who died in this terrible tragedy, we will fly the flags on all of our campuses at half-mast until the Month’s Mind, which will be observed on 5 October.
Fordham’s Community of Concern:
I have always been both consoled and impressed by the depth of compassion that resides in the hearts of all of the men and women of the University. In the course of the past two weeks, I have come to appreciate this compassion even more. Indeed, it would be hard for me to put into words the gratitude and pride that I feel for and in our beloved Fordham at this time. In spite of the inadequacy of my words, I would like to thank all of you for the concern and goodness that you have shown to the victims of the storm: the admissions staff for the comforting way in which they helped the displaced students complete their applications for admission to the schools of the University; the deans who worked long hours to make sure that the newest (albeit temporary) members of our community had schedules and were able to navigate their first challenging days on our campuses; the faculty members who made sure that the late-arriving students were not disadvantaged in any way; the students who offered the displaced students shelter from the storm by taking them into their rooms (and their hearts); and the student affairs staff who organized special orientation sessions for our Gulf Coast guests.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the members of the Fordham family who have either already contributed to the Hurricane Relief Fund or are organizing fundraising activities in the coming weeks. You have all confirmed in word, prayer and deed that Fordham is deeply committed to being a community with a difference: a community of men and women for others.