Tulane University Cancels Fall Semester
Tulane University canceled its fall semester last week because of Hurricane Katrina and encouraged its students to take classes at others schools while New Orleans tries to clean up from the flooding.
Across town, the University of New Orleans campus appeared to be about two-thirds above water and the university said it planned to have Internet classes ready by October and satellite campuses open as soon as it could.
Dillard University said it wasn’t ready to give up on the semester either but officials were still considering how to proceed.
The hurricane left as many as 100,000 college students in the New Orleans area reconsidering their fall semester as conditions in the hard-hit city worsened, according to the American Council on Education. Officials said it likely would be months before New Orleans was functioning again.
Several schools already have offered to take in displaced Gulf Coast college students.
To help the students and their universities, the American Council on Education announced guidelines last week that reflect the financial fears of the waterlogged Gulf Coast schools that don’t want to lose their students for good.
The statement released by the higher education group asked that the schools taking displaced Gulf Coast students in enroll them as visitors rather than transfers. It also asked that they not charge tuition to students who already paid fall tuition. For those who haven’t paid, it said the schools should charge the same tuition as the students’ original schools and send the money to those schools.
Many colleges already had offered to accept students without charging them extra, though the financial details of the offers have not all been clear.
The hurricane has left officials at many of the New Orleans-area colleges struggling to communicate with the outside world.
Tulane and the University of New Orleans both turned to the Internet to announce their plans last week.
Tulane President Scott Cowen, working from Houston, wrote on the private university’s Web site that the school of 8,000 undergraduates was canceling the fall semester but that it would accept credit from any regionally accredited university and was encouraging students to take courses they would otherwise be taking at Tulane.
Cowen also said the school would work to keep its sports teams together and continuing to represent Tulane by relying on other schools for practice and playing facilities.
“Our student-athletes are an integral part of this plan. We want our athletes to carry the torch, face, and name of Tulane University during this difficult time,” he said.
The football team set up temporary quarters at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. It’s first game will still be Sept. 17 against Mississippi State.
“It’s something that we want to do for New Orleans,” said Tulane linebacker Antonio Mason.
Marvalene Hughes, president of Dillard University, a historically Black college in New Orleans, said she was planning further discussions with staff last week but was exploring a range of options and was not yet prepared to give up on the semester.
“I don’t give up that easily,” said Hughes, who has been president for just two months and was staying with family in Alabama.
There was no immediate word from other colleges but Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the Washington-based American Council on Education, said he expected most schools in New Orleans would be closed until at least January.
— Associated Press
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