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CMU extends hand to Katrina victims

Following the tragic effects of Hurricane Katrina, Carnegie Mellon has extended a welcome to displaced students from Tulane University and other colleges near the ruined city of New Orleans. This invitation is just one of many campus efforts to help hurricane victims from Louisiana and Mississippi, and will allow students from the devastated area to take classes at CMU as non-degree students for at least one semester.

"We have been getting calls from students who are going to college in the New Orleans area, mainly Tulane," said University Provost Mark Kamlet. On Monday, Tulane University president Scott Cowen announced that there would be no fall semester on their campus.

Kamlet and Student Affairs are working in conjunction with the American Association of Universities (AAU) to bring interested students to CMU. Interim Dean of Student Affairs Jennifer Church said that her staff is working with potential students on an individual level to see if they would like to take classes on CMU's campus. "Once students begin to arrive, the appropriate housefellow or college liaison will provide support as needed for the students in their residential houses or respective colleges," Church stated.

As of now, the number of students who may arrive at Carnegie Mellon is unclear. "I don't know how many it would be; up to now we've had up to 25, I'd say, serious contacts. And I'd guess a third of them ? I'm just making up numbers ? will indeed find the fit here," said Kamlet. He added that the students interested were not all freshmen, but came from all undergraduate levels. He also explained that any arriving Tulane students would be "non-degree" students, meaning they would take classes but would not graduate with a Carnegie Mellon degree.

According to Kamlet, students from Tulane or other universities would not be given a higher housing priority than those CMU students who already lacked proper housing.

The Tartan was unable to reach a representative from the AAU.

A number of campus groups are also organizing relief projects for Hurricane Katrina victims. A website, www.studentaffairs.cmu.edu/katrina, has been created to inform Carnegie Mellon students of aid efforts in which they can participate. According to Coordinator of Student Development M. Shernell Smith, there will be tables set up in the University Center on Tuesday with more information as to how students can help those in need. Smith is also working with the Pittsburgh-based charity organization The Brother's Brother Foundation to assemble "floodbuckets," which will contain necessary items such as clothing and toiletries for those who have lost all their belongings.

According to both Church and Smith, more relief projects are being organized in the coming weeks. "This is definitely a long-term event," said Smith. Student Affairs plans to hold student forums throughout the year during which different projects can be proposed.

"All ideas are welcome," Smith said. "I think you're going to see just how CMU's heart really shows."