WMU News

President Bailey issues statement about tsunami disaster

Jan. 6, 2005

KALAMAZOO--President Judith I. Bailey issued a statement today to the Western Michigan University community regarding the university's concerns and response to the unfolding tragedy resulting from the Dec. 26 earthquake in the Indian Ocean and subsequent tsunami. The complete text of the president's message follows.

To the WMU Community:

As citizens of the world, we have all watched, with horror, the scenes of human suffering and destruction triggered by the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami. We're all working to respond--both personally and as an institution--in the most appropriate and helpful ways possible.

Our initial inquiries were intensely focused on a small number of WMU students and faculty who we know were traveling or living in that region, as well as on our international students and their families who might have been affected. We have more than 700 students from the countries hardest hit. Those efforts are still under way. Thankfully, the news so far is positive.

We have learned that one of our academic partners in India, Hindustan College of Technology, is located in an area that was hit by the tsunami. The college has suffered some damage and disruption. The social work faculty and staff of another of our partners, Rajagiri College, are deeply involved in counseling and relief efforts. We hope to hear more details on the progress of both fronts soon.

Yesterday, Cat (Cathleen) Fuller of our Office of International Affairs left for India. She will visit our three academic partners in that country. Next week, Bill Woods of the same office will travel to Sunway College in Malaysia. We have notified all four colleges that we are establishing a new scholarship for a student from each college in the amount of $1,500. The four scholarships will be awarded at the end of the current semester in memory of the victims of this terrible tragedy.

Here at home, groups across the campus are discussing fund-raising efforts. In the meantime, I encourage each of you to consider donating to the relief effort of your choice. There are literally dozens from which to choose, and the needs are tremendous. Never have our responsibilities as global citizens been so clear.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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