More Katrina Students To Enroll

College opens its doors to 36 displaced students and organizes relief efforts

The College announced yesterday that is has accepted 36 visiting students for the semester from schools shut down by Hurricane Katrina, 11 more students than Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby initially said the College would admit on Sept. 2.

All but two of the 36 visiting students from Gulf Coast universities have accepted the offer of on-campus housing, Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 wrote in an e-mail yesterday.

With the exception of 10 visiting freshmen, who live in the yard, all on-campus visiting students are living in Claverly Hall and Apley Court, in rooms that were initially closed at the end of last semester due to noise concerns from the adjacent Hasty Pudding construction site.

Gross’ e-mail said that the newly-reopened rooms were equipped with luxuries foreign to the average Harvard student—like air conditioning, new mattresses, and rented linens—in preparation for their tenants. Residents of the newly-opened rooms are affiliated with either Lowell or Adams Houses, while the two students residing off-campus are affiliated with Dudley House.

In his e-mail, Gross also commended the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for quickly processing visiting student applications, which were accepted until Sept. 16.

Kirby wrote in his e-mail to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences community on Sept. 2 that the undergraduate admissions office would work with high-school seniors from the Gulf Coast whose academic records may be difficult to obtain.

“We have been in touch with a number of people around the Gulf Coast and we have assured them that we are prepared to be very flexible and accommodating,” Harvard College Director of Admissions Marlyn McGrath Lewis ’71-’73 said yesterday.

McGrath Lewis said that there is a precedent for processing applications following serious national disasters during the early admissions season, which ends Nov. 1.

“When 9/11 occurred in New York, that was in the fall also, so we have some practice in being flexible and we’re not unaccustomed to being flexible when a catastrophe arrives,” she said.

In his e-mail, Gross also commended Director of the Harvard Foundation S. Allen Counter and the four students who accompanied him to New Orleans along with doctors in order to provided medical treatment to victims of Hurricane Katrina in coordination with Southern University from Sept. 12-15.

“Dean Kirby and Dean Gross were supportive of the project, and much of the medicine distributed was collected from Harvard University Health Services,” Counter said.

Counter said that he and the students who helped in the recovery intend to take at least two more trips to New Orleans in October and November.

Gross’ e-mail also announced that a benefit concert for victims of the hurricane has been successfully scheduled.

“A variety of Harvard’s performing arts groups will work with Sanders Theatre and the Office for the Arts to donate talent and energy to a Benefit Concert at Sanders on October 15,” Gross wrote.

Gross also noted that students have organized peer advising for the visiting students from Tulane, Loyola, and Xavier Universities and that Phillips Brooks House Association will expand its “alternative Spring Break” to include travelling to the Gulf Coast to help with reconstruction.

Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Education, Law School, Business School, School of Public Health, Medical School, Divinity School, and Design School have all announced that they are accepting displaced students on a visiting basis for the semester.

—Staff writer Joshua P. Rogers can be reached at jprogers@fas.harvard.edu.