As the nation comes to terms with the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, the reality facing many students in New Orleans is that most of its schools are simply too damaged to accommodate them for the semester. The College, however, is making efforts to accept undergraduates who were to attend schools in New Orleans until their schools recover from the storm.
According to Lisa Angeloni, dean of admissions, as of Friday afternoon, the College had already admitted a number of students displaced by the hurricane. “It could be up to 15 at this point,” she said. “It’s going to keep fluctuating. Our phones haven’t stopped ringing.”
The students, which Angeloni said represent Tulane University, Louisiana State University, Loyola University New Orleans and Xavier University, have been, for the most part, New Jersey residents. However, Angeloni said the College would consider admission requests from out-of-state students as well.
“We probably will begin to get inquiries from out of state. We’re all trying to help as much as we can,” she said. “It’s so horrific that it’s hard not to help people.”
Angeloni added that a hotline was set up for students who want to make inquiries over the holiday weekend. She said the number of admitted students will likelyincrease as the week progresses.
“I’m sure we’re going to be picking up quite a few students next week,” she added.
Both Tulane and Loyola have canceled their fall semesters in the wake of the storm. Meanwhile, the College has given admissible students until Sept. 12 to begin classes. Tuition payments and other bills will be deferred until the situation is resolved with the institution at which each student was originally enrolled.
Angeloni said an orientation event is being planned for students admitted to the College in the wake of the hurricane.
Administrators have been meeting to discuss housing options for the refugee students, according to Matt Golden, assistant director for public information for the office of College and Community Relations. “Because this is such a dire situation, we are going to push ourselves beyond what we consider capacity under normal circumstances,” he said. “Depending on how many students are interested in coming, we want to turn some of the lounges within the dorms into housing facilities.”
Neither Golden nor Angeloni could place a limit on how many students the College will accept. “We are going to extend ourselves as an institution as far as we can go,” Golden said. “We were at what we deemed capacity before this happened, but the situation demanded some kind of response.”
Golden said more than 20 faculty and staff members have offered to open their homes and take in refugees.
Community members who are willing to offer a place to stay for victims are urged to contact Pat Coleman-Boatwright, director of the office of College and Community Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-771-2368.