Thursday, September 22, 2005

A More Serious Post than Usual: Academic News from the Big Easy + A Few Links About New Orleans

(Apologies if there are any spelling/grammar errors. The editor wasn't available)

Some local Atlanta bloggers have been posting about post-hurricane New Orleans, but I've been reluctant up until now. We have friends who have been displaced, lost everything and/or stayed in the Superdome until Sunday of that week. And we have new neighbors, a couple that were given an apartment in or building due to the generousity of the buildings owner. The so-called "Blame Game" is one worth playing because now is the time to observe the failing of the various agencies who's purpose was to come to the city's aid. My father was involved in government and noted that it's just not the nature of government in any scale to operate quickly. But when an agency's express purpose is to be responsive in the wake of disaster, it important to see why it failed to do so, for the sake of future disaster victims.

While the news has been covering the worst of the catastophe, its interesting to watch the academic response. Tulane University is the largest employer in New Orleans and the third largest in Lousianna. In the aftermath of the storm, it has set up offices in Houston, is reaching out to students and staff via its website, and is paying it's employees (except for adjuncts). The college looks to rebuild both to help the city and to remain an important research university. The Chronical of Higher Education has an article on Tulane's efforts. The efforts of unaffected schools has been written about locally, with some critizism leveled at Georgia Tech and Morehouse (Metroblogging Atlanta: Is There Room At 'Da House?) for not providing aid to students from historically black New Orleans colleges.

Colleges are not just providing housing and food for these displaced students, but incorporating them in their student bodies. Which means the new students should be able to perform academically on the same level as the other students. Does this smack of of affluent colleges only offering aid to students they would like to make their own, and leaving other colleges to pick up the leftovers? Kind of, but it would be a disservice to deserving students not be allowed into a charitable college because a less qualified student was picked instead. Karsh who authored the Room At 'Da House? article followed up (Metroblogging Atlanta: Aha! There Is Room!) and found that Morehouse is making room for new applicants. But not without some guidelines...

"Morehouse has agreed to extend offers of admission to approximately 30 students from Xavier and Dillard as “special registrants” for the fall 2005 semester. Students from these schools who wish to enroll at Morehouse must present proof of enrollment in the form of a recent grade report or unofficial transcript, and must demonstrate that they were in good standing at their home institution. Priority will be given to graduating seniors, then to Georgia residents, and then to others on a first-come, first-served basis."

Many colleges have embraced the "service" aspect of their mission statements by coming to the aid of affected students and staff. And while it's easy to ask why can't they do more, there are limits to the resources these colleges have at their disposal.

New Orleans Related Articles Among the ruins, something to build on

A Sad Truth: Cities Aren't Forever

Don't Refloat - The case against rebuilding the sunken city of New Orleans. By Jack Shafer

The future of New Orleans | The way of Babylon? |

New Orleans Museum, Under Lock and Guard - New York Times

Dawn Dedeaux (New Orleans Artist) "Collaborations with Katrina | 2005"

Gallery - Katrina Photos Part 1

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