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Tulane University Reopening Delayed Due To Gustav Evacuation

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The mandatory evacuation of Orleans Parish makes the logistics of reopening Tulane University on the originally stated dates--Wednesday, Sept. 3 and Thursday, Sept. 4--very difficult.

Therefore, we have decided to resume normal business operations on Saturday, Sept. 6. The dorms will reopen on Sunday, Sept. 7, and classes will resume on Monday, Sept. 8.

Earlier on Friday Tulane reported the following:

Although Gustav’s erratic storm track is making it tough to tell if it will bear down on New Orleans, Tulane’s senior leadership team has made the call to close the university as of noon Friday, August 29.

The administration of Tulane University wants the university community to know that plans are in place and every effort is being taken to prepare students and make sure they are out of harm’s way.

“We want to ask students to inform their parents of their personal plans. Parents should be assured that the university takes the safety of our students very seriously,” says Cynthia Cherrey, vice president and dean of students. In addition, Cherrey urged parents to “encourage your sons and daughters to keep checking the university’s emergency website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.”

Officials from Tulane’s Office of Housing and Residence Life have been getting students ready. On Wednesday evening (Aug. 27) students on the uptown campus attended mandatory floor meetings with their resident advisers. The resident advisers talked with each student to assure that each one has a personal plan for evacuation.

“That’s one of the things the RAs talked about,” says Marty Brantley, director of housing services and residence life. “Obviously, a major concern is the freshmen, because many of them don’t have cars. We are urging them to capitalize on the 20 percent of new students who are from Louisiana, whose families are probably coming to collect them. We also are encouraging our upper-class students to take freshmen with them. We are trying to get them paired up with freshmen they may have met through orientation.”

Preparations also have been made to evacuate any student who does not have personal means for evacuation. Buses are at the ready to transport students to Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., and plans are in place for the athletics teams as well.

Now that the decision has been made to close the campus, Brantley’s office has been identifying the students who are being evacuated by the university to Jackson via bus.

Also, a system is in place to keep track of students’ personal evacuation plans.

“Any student who lives in the (residence) halls has to report their plan to the front desk,” Brantley says. “Evacuation cards are slipped under their doors, and they will fill those out with their evacuation plan. As they turn those in, the information is entered into our database. So, before the final bus leaves for Jackson, we have that information updated, accounting for all of the students on campus. ”

Jeff Knapp, an area director with housing and residence life who attended some of the floor meetings, says the students seem prepared.

“The general vibe is that the students are ready,” Knapp says. “The freshmen had some questions, and we discussed how to get ready. We told them the university is very prepared and there’s no reason to be afraid because we have a good plan in place, and that we will be out of town before the storm hits and usually before the city evacuates.”

The resident advisers also discussed with the students the university’s emergency plan, reminding them to monitor the Tulane emergency website and the Alert Line (504-862-8080 or toll-free 877-862-8080) for the latest details on evacuation orders, closings, re-openings and other emergency information.

The Division of Student Affairs, which maintains a website for parents of Tulane students, has posted a message to parents on the site.

“As always, our main goal is to keep you connected and well informed about what is occurring at Tulane,” the statement reads. “As a parent, the best way you can help is by encouraging your student to visit the emergency website for accurate and up-to-date information and to have their personal emergency hurricane plan in place.”

The office regularly maintains a toll-free phone line for parents to call with questions, 877-TUPWAVE (877-887-9283), says Penny Wyatt, director of orientation and student transitions, who also oversees parents’ programs.

Reported By Tulane University Press Office

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