University of Iowa News
April 20, 2006
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, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
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