President's Letter Regarding Hurricane Katrina Response

September 9, 2005

Dear Alumni, Parents, and Friends of Carleton:

The enormity of the devastation brought about by Hurricane Katrina has compelled us all to act and to act quickly to do all we can to assist our own students and their families from the Gulf Coast region, as well as to consider how else Carleton might mobilize support for those most directly affected by this tragedy.

We now have identified the locations of all 16 of our students from the Gulf Coast region, eight of them from the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. Dean of Students Hudlin Wagner and her staff, and Dean of Admissions Paul Thiboutot and his staff, are working around the clock with these students to determine their needs and the needs of their families. Most of the students have made it to Northfield; the others are in the process of getting here. We have made offers to house the families of two of our New Orleans students who have indicated they may need such assistance. In addition, any first-year students who are not able to begin the school year due to Hurricane Katrina will be allowed to defer their matriculation to Winter Term (January 2006) or until the 2006-07 academic year.

On campus, Laura Riehle-Merrill, Carleton's new assistant director of campus activities and Acting in Community Together (ACT) coordinator, will assemble a meeting shortly after returning students arrive to plan hurricane relief efforts. Chaplain Carolyn Fure-Slocum also has announced that on Monday, September 12—the first day of classes—there will be an open time for reflection and prayer on the crisis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Chapel.

For our alumni in the affected area, we continue to reach out and try to connect via email. Director of Alumni Affairs Becky Zrimsek ’89 and her staff are assuring alumni in Gulf Coast region that the Carleton community is here to be of use to them in whatever way we can be. The alumni office also has set up a web page for Gulf Coast alumni updates and information on relief efforts being coordinated by Carleton alumni.

As you would expect, the College has received many suggestions and recommendations for responding to the Katrina crisis. To assess thoughtfully and adequately all of the recommendations and offers of assistance, we have established an on-campus Gulf Crisis Team, led by trustee Bill Craine '70. The team continues to meet daily to discuss how best Carleton can help. As one part of this effort, we are attempting to contact New Orleans-area universities to discover what it is they most need, and to seek to do whatever we do collectively, with various higher education consortia.

We will provide periodic updates to keep you apprised of Carleton’s actions with regard to the Gulf Coast crisis. Further updates also will be posted on our Hurricane Katrina response site.

Thank you for your support and concern for those among the Carleton community and beyond who are affected by these events.

President Rob Oden's Signature

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