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A logo for University of Minnesota Hurricane Katrina relief efforts

U opens arms (and doors) for victims of hurricane

By Rick Moore

Published on September 6, 2005; updated on September 13, 2005

As the scope of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina is unfolding, the University of Minnesota community is responding accordingly with a wide range of efforts to provide relief to the storm's countless victims.

On Sept. 2, President Robert Bruininks sent a message to the entire U community asking everyone to help. "As the Mississippi headwaters state, we have a special connection and obligation to assist those in the Mississippi delta region," Bruininks said in the message. "My hope is that the entire University community can get involved in this important humanitarian effort."

On Sept. 1, the Twin Cities campus announced an emergency admissions policy designed to allow qualified students enrolled at colleges and universities affected by the hurricane to attend the U of M as early as this fall semester, which began Sept. 6. The U is continuing to review requests for undergraduate admission on a case-by-case basis (To view the latest updates to the policy, see Admissions.) As of midday Sept. 8, approximately 45 students had been admitted to the University, including a large number from Tulane University in New Orleans.

On Sept. 9, the Board of Regents approved a resolution to waive tuition for incoming students. The waiver applies only to those students who have already paid tuition to higher education institutions that are now closed. So far, the University has been able to provide on-campus housing for all of the newly admitted students who aren't staying with relatives.

The Graduate School has also adopted a policy of flexibility in trying to accommodate as many students as possible (see Graduate School for details), and professional schools on the Twin Cities campus are working with their professional associations to accommodate students on a case-by-case basis.

If you wish to contribute to relief efforts, you may contact the following organizations:

Minnesota Helps Fund
American Red Cross
Second Harvest
Noah's Wish (to help animals)
Catholic Charities
United Methodist Committee on Relief
Operation Blessing
Salvation Army

The University played a leadership role in last Friday's "Storm Aid: Minnesota's River of Relief." Working with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association, the U helped sponsor the "radiothon" on the Washington Avenue Bridge that raised more than $867,000 for victims the hurricane. During the event, University experts conducted more than 200 interviews.

Elsewhere around the University:

To read about the University of Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps, which has been on standby awaiting deployment to provide primary medical care services for victims of Hurricane Katrina, visit MRC. The first 20 MRC volunteers were scheduled to depart for Louisiana on Sept. 14.