President Tilghman issues statement on Hurricane Katrina

Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman issued the following statement on Friday, Sept. 2:

The destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina is overwhelming and heartbreaking, and its impact will be far reaching and long lasting. Hundreds of thousands of residents of the Gulf Coast have suffered devastating losses and face enormous challenges in the weeks, months and even years ahead. We extend our deepest sympathies to those who are suffering as a result of this tragedy, and we want to do as much as we can to help.

Within our own University family, we have reached out to all of our undergraduate and graduate students who live in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to offer them any assistance they may need to arrive on campus safely and prepare for the fall semester. Counseling and medical services are being made available to any students who need them. We also will provide support for members of the faculty and staff who may have family members in the area devastated by the hurricane, and will do everything we can to assist members of the University community who wish to offer their services as volunteers. With the support of the Alumni Council, our regional alumni associations in the Gulf Coast are reaching out to their members to see what help they may be able to provide.

Although classes have yet to start, our students are planning fund-raisers, and we will do what we can to support their efforts. Even before those events can take place, we know that many members of the campus community will want to contribute financially to the national relief efforts through the American Red Cross or other organizations that are providing assistance. We are working with the national higher education associations that are seeking to coordinate relief efforts for colleges and universities in the Gulf Coast area. In addition, we are prepared to provide housing on our campus for a limited number of academically-qualified, undergraduate and graduate students who have been displaced from their colleges and universities by the hurricane and flooding so that they may continue their educational pursuits until they can return to their home institutions. Students interested in being considered for these special arrangements should contact Karen Woodbridge at (609) 258-5144.

Tragic events like these touch us deeply and remind us of our responsibilities to care for each other. In the face of such enormous devastation it is heartening that so many want to do what they can to bring hope and support to those in need.