Chancellor Goldstein’s Remarks on University-wide Katrina Relief Efforts at the September 6th Board of Trustees Committee on Academic Policy, Program, and Research

In line with the announcement made by Governor Pataki and Commissioner Mills late last week, CUNY is providing late admission at in-state tuition rates to students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The College Presidents are encouraged to provide supplementary financial assistance to needy students through private and alumni support.

A special admissions hotline (1800-CUNY-YES) has been established to assist students who have had their education disrupted by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Students may also call 212 290-5604. Our overarching goal is to work with these students so that their progress toward degree completion at their home institution is minimally impacted. In support of this objective, I am asking our colleges to take a number of steps:

* Waive application fees and late registration fees;
* Admit students who wish to attend on a full-time basis as “visiting students.” This may entail waiving, for the Fall semester, standard admissions and documentation protocols;
* Whenever possible, colleges should permit students to defer payment of tuition charges until there is more clarity about federal and state policy during this emergency.

CUNY is participating in an effort organized by the Sloan Consortium (an organization of 100+ institutions of higher education offering quality online instruction) to offer free online courses to the estimated 175,000 college students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Sloan has suggested an accelerated semester, scheduled to begin 10/10/05 and last for 8 weeks. We are reaching out to interested faculty, who would volunteer to offer courses, and who may receive a small stipend from the Sloan Foundation. Contact Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Selma Botman.

University Assistant Dean Harry Franklin has been designated the CUNY-wide Relief Coordinator and has reached out for the campus relief coordinators, the University Student Senate leadership, campus student government leaders, the University Faculty Senate leadership and others to coordinate relief efforts, including collection of donations which will be forwarded to reputable relief organizations and agencies.

Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Selma Botman will be working with faculty to set up a CUNY standing committee on disaster relief. This committee would be comprised of experts who could assess our institutional capacity for response, bring together people from a variety of appropriate disciplines, serve as an organizing group for specific actions, and provide the University an ongoing capacity for marshalling appropriate people and resources for a given crisis.

This Thursday, September 8, I will participate in a press conference on the steps of City Hall with the members of the City Council, to communicate the University’s relief efforts.

All initiatives are being featured on the CUNY home page, with college website links underway.

Vice Chancellor Emma Macari and the Office of Facilities Management, through the Association of University Architects, have been in touch with several Gulf State campuses whose physical plant has been affected by the hurricane, and stand ready to assist.

Office of University Relations
Jay Hershenson 212 794-5317
Michael Arena 212 794-5685