Campus: CSU Fresno --September 7, 2005

Hurricane-Displaced Students Ask Fresno State for Help

Eight students displaced by Hurricane Katrina have inquired about emergency admission to California State University, Fresno, with two admitted this morning - from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and Dillard College in New Orleans.

Three more from Xavier College visited the campus today and three more -- two from the University of New Orleans and one from Tulane -- have appointments Wednesday, said Bernard Vinovrski, associate vice president of enrollment services. All three colleges are in New Orleans.

Vinovrski spent his Labor Day weekend fielding phone calls after the CSU announced that its 23-campuses would assist displaced students from Gulf Coast area colleges, as well as California students who had planned to attend a college in that region.

While Fresno State was not among the seven CSU campuses that currently have some spaces available in their fall classes, the university offered to consider any request it received and make an effort to accommodate students in need, on a case-by-case basis.

Vinovrski said that a phone number broadcast by news media for Fresno State last week generated some activity leading to today's results. He noted that admissions would be accommodated through Friday but that it would be difficult academically for the affected students, as well as faculty, to enroll after that.

Megan Stegee, a senior from Louisiana State University and formerly of Clovis, needed only three units to graduate when the Gulf Coast disaster struck Aug. 29.

After meeting with enrollment services officials this morning, she was admitted and begins classes tonight.

Also admitted was Daireyon Hooks, of Los Angeles who was a first-time freshman at Dillard College. He lost all his clothes and personal belongings in the hurricane and is now staying with a sister in Fresno, who is a master's degree graduate from Fresno State. He begins classes Wednesday.

The students completed an admission application, then registered for classes. Other issues such as financial aid and long range planning are also being discussed, Vinovrski said. They will be considered students of Fresno State but some will be graduates of their respective colleges, he explained.

"We are working out what will be the smoothest way to accommodate these students," Vinovrski said. "It was an interesting and busy Labor Day weekend but worth it considering what these students have endured."

Dr. Paul Oliaro said the Student Affairs team will work with the students to help with their transition including possible assignment of a mentor or counselor. He also said the Fresno State Parents Association may provide assistance for books and other basic expenses from its emergency fund.

"Even though we are hundreds of miles away, our campus is joining the rest of the nation in reaching out to help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina try and put their lives back together," Oliaro said. "We are ready to help those students affected by the disaster continue their education through emergency admission to Fresno State.

He noted that Fresno State students are planning various fundraising efforts for the victims and will meet Wednesday to with Student affairs and the Office of Civic Engagement to coordinate those efforts.

"This is just people helping people in need," Oliaro said.

Anyone wishing to inquire about emergency admission to Fresno State may call (559) 278-4639 before Friday (Sept. 9).

Information about the university-wide Hurricane Katrina relief aid drive will be updated regularly on

Media Contact: Thomas Uribes, University Communications Office, (559) 278-5366

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