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University of Iowa News

April 20, 2006
 
Dear Colleagues,

I write to you today -- one week after the tornado tore through Iowa City -- with an information update and advice.

Last night, I met with the women of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority to touch base and see how things were going for them. To be frank, these women, like other students, faculty, and staff who huddled in basements and closets as their homes were ripped from them, are in a very precarious state. They have lost everything -- notes, textbooks, clothing, personal items. This goes far beyond a mere inconvenience, as many of you who also have experienced damage and losses due to the tornado are aware. It is quite clear from our discussions with them that the psychological and emotional tolls, in addition to the material losses, are immense -- almost unmanageable.

While we are working to deliver psychological and emotional support as well as material assistance to those touched by this exceptional situation, I implore you to be as compassionate and accommodating as possible when students approach you for academic assistance. It may not be reasonable to expect them to prepare for comprehensive final
exams, for instance, when they have no course notes. Moreover, the coping difficulties that those who are experiencing these losses are confronting impedes even the most basic functions -- they are not able to sleep and they are having trouble concentrating.

I have consulted with faculty and with Dean Maxson from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences remaining mindful of the fact that there are only about two weeks left in the semester. Together, we ask that you consider accepting the requests for academic accommodations that any student who has suffered such extreme losses makes. The College has
posted updated information for students, faculty, and staff on their Web site: http://www.clas.uiowa.edu/news/2006/04/17_tornado.shtml

Students of the College may go directly to the Academic Programs Office in 120 Schaeffer Hall and College staff will contact instructors on behalf of students.

Lisa Troyer and Tom Rocklin of the Provost's Office have also been assisting students and visited the sorority with me last night. They may be contacting you on behalf of students and I ask that you be responsive. In addition, please feel free to contact Lisa if you have questions or would like advice about appropriate accommodations for students (319/335-1878, lisa-troyer@uiowa.edu).

Once more, let me thank you all for rising to this challenge. The recovery will take many, many weeks, and I think that this is a time to err on the side of being overly accommodating and compassionate as our students seek our assistance. I know that I can count on you, as always, to continue to generously extend your help and support to those who are experiencing these exceptional difficulties resulting from the tornado.

One last thing. Many of us also have faculty and staff colleagues who have suffered serious losses. I have spoken personally to a lot of them in the last few days, and I know that I can count on you to be as sensitive to their condition as you are to the students who seek your help.

Sincerely,

Mike

Michael J. Hogan
Executive Vice President and Provost
F. Wendell Miller Professor of History
The University of Iowa
111 Jessup Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242
319/335-3565
Fax: 319/335-3560
michael-hogan@uiowa.edu