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Update on Columbia Relief Efforts for Katrina Victims, September 20, 2005

"As the entire nation girds itself to deal with the profound losses and the aftermath of the worst natural disaster in almost a century, Columbia also is doing its part to help. Various schools and departments are participating in the relief effort, including taking in students from devastated colleges and universities. To those members of the Columbia community who have been personally affected by the hurricane and flooding, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy and willingness to be of assistance to you in any way we can."

- Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University in the City of New York

"All of us in New York were the recipients of the enormous generosity of people across the nation and the world after September 11, 2001, and I know that we will all do our best to reciprocate by helping those affected by the disaster along the Gulf."

- Alan Brinkley, Provost, Columbia University in the City of New York

As the people of New Orleans and the Gulf states begin the arduous task of recovery from Hurricane Katrina and deal with the many pressing issues of health, safety and further evacuation, Columbia University continues to offer aid and resources to affected individuals and families. These efforts range from enrolling dislocated students, to raising funds to provide relief to victims of the Hurricane, to providing on-site medical assistance to support public health needs in the affected region.

Below is an update on some of the ongoing efforts of the Columbia community.

Prospective Students

Recognizing the financial hardship that prospective students in the Gulf region may experience, Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science will be waiving the Fall 2006 first-year application fee any for prospective students who will also be applying for financial aid and who live in the metropolitan regions of New Orleans, Biloxi/Gulfport and Mobile.

Prospective students in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama should contact the following regional admission officers with any application or admission concerns: in Louisiana, Adina Berrios, admission officer, acb25@columbia.edu or 212-854-2522; in Mississippi and Alabama, Shawn L. Abbott, senior associate director of admissions, sla26@columbia.edu or 212-854-2522.

Enrollment of Displaced Students

As of Sept. 17, approximately 229 students who attend colleges and universities in the region and whose lives have been disrupted are continuing their education without interruption here at Columbia. They are now enrolled as visiting students taking Columbia courses for credit, which they can then transfer to their home institutions. Columbia is not asking these students to pay tuition or fees directly and will work out any financial issues with their home institutions, once those institutions are again functioning.


Registration closed at 6 p.m. on Tue., Sept. 6. As of Thu., Sept. 8, Columbia University's School of Continuing Education and the School of General Studies report that they have enrolled approximately 183 displaced students and have reached their capacity. The students are primarily from Tulane University, but also from other New Orleans area schools, including Loyola, Louisiana State and the University of Notre Dame. The majority of visiting students are from the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region, although some are attending from as far away as Texas, Florida and California.

Graduate Students

As of Sept. 17, approximately 66 graduate students have registered for courses in Columbia's graduate schools, including the Law School, the Mailman School of Public Health and the School of Arts and Sciences, among others. Enrollment in these schools has been extended until Friday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. Interested students should contact the admissions offices of the specific school in question. The Academic Programs page ( http://www.columbia.edu/academic_programs/index.html ) on the Columbia University Web site contains links to each school.

Special Orientation Session

Over 100 new students and parents attended a special orientation session at the Morningside campus on Wed., Sept. 7, which included presentations on academic issues, health services, public safety and computing services. Although the University is unable to offer campus housing, Columbia's Off-Campus Housing Assistance office is offering the visiting students help in understanding and dealing with the New York City housing market along with assistance connecting with local housing services.

Columbia University Medical Center

Mailman School of Public Health, in coordination with the Association of Schools of Public Health, is working to accommodate approximately 26 public health students from Tulane and Louisiana State University to take fall-term classes as special students.

The College of Physician & Surgeons is working with the Association of American Medical Colleges and has offered to absorb displaced medical students. The School of Dental and Oral Surgery has offered to help train Louisiana State University postdoctoral dental students/residents. Likewise, the School of Nursing has offered assistance to graduate schools of nursing in the affected area. CUMC Dean Gerald Fischbach offers detailed information about the Medical Center's outreach efforts in a Sept. 6 letter, which can be viewed at http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/Katrina.letter.html .

Teachers College

An affiliate of Columbia University, Teachers College is making an initial 10 spaces available to graduate students in the fields of education, psychology, and health administration whose studies have been disrupted at colleges and universities that have been severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. For more information or to apply contact Dr. William Baldwin, Associate Dean of Academic Administration, at (212) 678-3043 or at wjb12@columbia.edu.

There will be no formal admissions process, all students in good standing are eligible and will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis as visiting students. Teachers College regrets that it is unable to provide housing. Students should also verify that their home universities will accept course credit earned at Teachers College to enable them to return to those institutions.

Please note that enrollment at Teachers College for the fall semester must be completed by no later than Friday, Sept. 16 – the last day on which the College permits students to add or drop courses.


Fundraising Efforts

Katrina Relief Effort Fund

The University has established a fund to assist families of Columbia students, faculty and staff who are in distress as a result of the hurricane. Contributions may be sent to: The Office of the University Chaplain, 202 Earl Hall, MC 2008, New York, NY 10027. Checks should be made payable to Columbia University and indicate Attn: Katrina Relief Fund.

Anyone who knows of Columbia families in need in the disaster area should contact the Office of the University Chaplain at 212-854-1493 to offer details on the family and how to reach them.

Student Benefit Concert

Columbia's student musicians came together on Tue., Sept. 13 in St. Paul's Chapel to hold a concert to benefit the Columbia Katrina Relief Effort. For details on the event, please visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/05/09/huricane_concert.html.

CU Relief -- Columbia University Students United to Provide Hurricane Relief

The student-organized CU Relief encourages students to donate the money they would spend on a Friday night out in New York City to the relief effort. The campaign runs through the first week in October and will benefit the American Red Cross and other aid organizations. For more information contact Ms. Ayinwi Muma (CC'06), chair of CU Relief, at CURelief05@gmail.com with "CU Relief" in the subject line.

School of Dental and Oral Surgery Student Government Fundraising

The School of Dental and Oral Surgery's student government is reaching out to students, faculty and friends to raise money for the American Red Cross.


Faculty Volunteer Efforts

Operation Assist

The Mailman School of Public Health and the Children's Health Fund have launched Operation Assist to support public health needs in the affected region. State-of-the-art mobile medical units are on-site in the Gulf Region, providing emergency medical services to children and families in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. For more information on Operation Assist, visit http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/Mailman.Katrina.html .

Nursing Volunteer Coordination

The School of Nursing's Center for Health Policy is coordinating national efforts for nursing volunteers in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Joan Valas, staff member of the School of Nursing's Center for Health Policy, has been mobilized through the Disaster Medical Assistance Team to Biloxi, Miss.


Visiting Scholars

Columbia also will welcome as visiting scholars/visiting scientists those faculty and researchers from affected colleges and universities who decide to relocate temporarily to New York. Displaced scholars may contact Jane Acton Chung in the International Students and Scholars Office at 212-854-3587 or ja378@columbia.edu for additional information and referral to the appropriate academic unit.


Health Services for Current Students

Health services are available to students currently enrolled at Columbia and visiting students from the hurricane-affected areas. For more information or to make an appointment at Health Services at Columbia (Morningside) visit http://www.health.columbia.edu or call 212-854-2284; for Student Health Services at the Medical Center visit http://www.columbiahealth.info/ or call 212-305-3400.

The University is also offering counseling services to faculty, staff and students who may have been affected by the hurricane. For more information about drop-in hours or to make an appointment with Health Services on the Morningside campus, visit http://www.health.columbia.edu/ or call 212-854-2878.

Assistance for Columbia Employees

In addition, the University has contracted with an independent organization called the Employee Development Center (EDC). EDC has worked with Columbia over the past few years to offer faculty, staff and their families confidential counseling and referrals to other services, if necessary, at no cost to the individual. To contact EDC, call 212-935-3030 or 800-327-9092, for calls from outside of New York. For further information about the EDC, visit the Employee Assistance Program page on the Human Resources Web site: http://www.hr.columbia.edu/hr/benefits/eap/eap/index.html

Related Links

Student Benefit Concert

CU Relief -- Columbia University Students United to Provide Hurricane Relief

Mailman School's 'Operation Assist' Provides Emergency Medical Services in Gulf Region

Dean Fischbach Outlines Efforts by Medical Center Schools, Faculty, Students, Sept. 6

Provost Brinkley Details Relief Fund for CU Families and Aid for Displaced Students, Scholars, Sept. 2

Columbia Offers Educational Resources to Dislocated Students, Scholars, Sept. 2

Published: Sep 08, 2005
Last modified: Sep 20, 2005

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