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In response to Hurricane Katrina: A statement by President Hunter Rawlings

Cornell University President Hunter R. Rawlings issued the following statement Sept. 16:

Many at Cornell have expressed a desire to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Cornell has already reached out in numerous ways: by helping students from colleges and universities in the affected region, by supporting rescue efforts for people and pets, and by offering other forms of assistance. Individuals have donated critical resources to various agencies and organizations. I have also offered the services of various administrative offices here at Cornell to the affected colleges in the Gulf Coast states.

It will take a very long time for the affected areas to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. We will continue to look for ways to help in the rebuilding efforts. In the meantime, we want to announce a new leave program and send along a reminder about the various ways in which each of us can continue to provide support.

Cornell Provides Paid Administrative Leave for Emergency Responders

In consultation with my senior staff, I have determined that Cornell staff and faculty who are trained and registered as emergency responders and are interested in volunteering for organizations involved in hurricane relief efforts may be granted up to three (3) consecutive weeks (15 consecutive working days) of paid administrative leave for such activities. Guidelines for release time include the following:

All paid release time will require the advance approval of the Dean/VP (or his/her designee) after consideration of operational needs.

Release time may be granted for faculty and regular full-time and part-time staff.

Release time may only be granted for official volunteer operations requiring travel to the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

This policy will be in effect for one year (through September 2006) and will be reviewed again at that time.

Individuals requesting release time should provide management with appropriate documentation supporting the request.

Paid leave will be for regular hours worked, and will not count against paid time off balances. Requests for additional time off will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with normal University policies.

Cornell Partners with the Red Cross to Provide Emergency Responder Training

The American Red Cross continues to offer emergency responder training for those interested in becoming responders. Training sessions in September are already filled. The Red Cross has agreed to offer additional training, beginning in mid-October, here on campus. Once these sessions are scheduled, times and locations will be posted on the Red Cross web site Staff who are interested in becoming trained to serve in emergency situations should seek permission from their supervisors to attend such training. Those receiving such approval will be given paid release time to attend the training.

Please be aware that becoming a trained responder is a significant commitment. Responders may be asked to travel all over the country and provide relief in some difficult circumstances. It takes significant resources for the Red Cross to train and register responders, so please give careful consideration to your own situation before taking on this important commitment. Also, the staff at Red Cross of Tompkins County are extremely busy and ask that individuals interested in signing up for training refer to the website for updated information.

Blood Drives to Be Held on Campus

Cornell will be holding regular blood drives beginning Sept. 26, 2005. The Red Cross tells us that blood supplies are expected to drop given that many donors in the south will be unable to give during this period of recovery. The schedule to date is as follows:

  • Mon., Sept. 26, Cornell, Willard Straight Hall, Noon - 5:00 pm
    For an appointment please email: Sponsored by: Pan Hellenic and Intra Fraternity Councils.
  • Thurs., Sept. 29, Cornell, Sage Hall, Atrium, 10:00am - 3:00 pm
    For an appointment please email: Sponsored by: Community Impact.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4, Cornell G10 Biotech, Noon - 5:00 pm
    Call Kerry at (607) 254-2985 or e-mail for an appointment. Sponsored by: The Wellness Program.

Monetary Support Still Needed

I know that many faculty, staff, retirees, parents, alumni, and students have already given generously to the hurricane relief effort, and I would like to thank each one of you for demonstrating a level of service and giving that is a hallmark of the Cornell community. I ask every Cornell faculty and staff member, if you have not already done so, to consider giving a donation to the hurricane relief effort. The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and other relief agencies are currently involved in relief efforts in the affected areas. You can contact the local chapters or visit their websites for more information. For more information about organizations involved in the recovery effort, visit


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