Interim Chancellor Kelly Announces Relief Effort for Typhoon Haiyan Victims

November 11, 2013 | News

Responding to the horrific devastation in the Philippines, Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly has announced the establishment of a University-wide relief effort to assist the victims and others affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which has left many thousands dead, injured and displaced and areas of the country destroyed in likely its worst natural disaster.

“Many of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni trace their ancestry to the Philippines and have family members in the affected areas,” Interim Chancellor Kelly said in a message to CUNY’s college presidents and University school deans.  “ I know that you share my deep concern about the tragic impact of this disaster on the residents of the Philippines and on our CUNY community.”

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Frank Sanchez was designated by the interim chancellor to lead the University’s drive “to encourage contributions and assistance to relief efforts on behalf of those affected,”  according to the memo. Each CUNY institution will name a campus relief coordinator “to organize and support local relief activities and humanitarian efforts and to participate in University-wide meetings,” he said.

Condolences were extended “to those members of the CUNY community who are suffering the effects of this grievous disaster.”

Vice Chancellor Sanchez indicated that the University would work “with all of our schools to identify students” who may be affected by the catastrophe and “provide counseling support and other important services to help them through this tragic natural disaster.”

Many CUNY students, faculty and staff –  including 2,721 undergraduates and 124 international students who have come from the Philippines to study — have Filipino ancestry or ties.

“We’re all saddened about this tragic event,” said Vice Chancellor Sanchez. “Our number one concern is to support our students who’ve been directly impacted, in the best way that we can. That’s our focus right now,” Vice Chancellor Sanchez said.

The University’s relief efforts are expected to include campus food, clothing and supplies drives and fundraising to aid devastated families in the Philippines, as well as outreach to CUNY students who have relatives in the areas affected by the typhoon.

In addition to organizing CUNY’s relief drive, University officials plan to quickly strategize with city, community and national organizations to determine “how best to provide a coordinated response” to the disaster, Vice Chancellor Sanchez said.