Tornado Leaves About 700 U. Maryland Students Homeless

By Hattie Brown The Diamondback

(U-WIRE) COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland students living in the privately-owned University Courtyard apartments expressed their frustration Tuesday night after being told they would not be able to return to their apartments for days, maybe even weeks, after a tornado ripped through the complex Monday evening.

“We did not call the tornado to come to the University Courtyard,” said Ryan Holmes, executive vice president of Ambling Companies, the company that owns the Courtyard. “Ambling is doing what it can.”

None of the apartments in the Courtyard have power, phone or data connections and officials do not know when students will be allowed to go back to their apartments. None of the more than 700 residents are allowed to pick up any belongings from their apartments or move their cars from the lot. Only medication and other necessary items can be retrieved.

“The reason we cannot let you in is safety,” said Pat Mielke, director of the Resident Life Office, which determines students’ priority numbers for the Courtyard, during the meeting. “We just don’t have any idea whether there’s structural damage or not. Safety has to come first.”

Also, University Boulevard, the main road to the Courtyard, is closed until at least noon Wednesday, making it nearly impossible for students to get their belongings.

Ambling hopes to allow students to pick up essential items from their apartments beginning on Thursday and to permit students in less-damaged buildings to move back in on Friday, Holmes said.

In the meantime, University Police officers are assigned to patrol the area, Holmes said.

Students angrily voiced their concerns at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Todd Herrmann, a senior engineering major. “I want my own clothes. I need my books. All my stuff’s in my apartment.”

The Resident Life Office is providing cots in the Campus Recreation Center to students who were displaced. Alternatively, officials at Ambling and at the Resident Life Office said they hope students can stay with friends. Dining Services is providing affected residents free food from South Campus Dining Hall until they return to their apartments.

“They probably have plenty of friends on campus,” said Jan Davidson, assistant to the director of resident life. “They’re certainly welcome at the relocation centers.”

Harvard President Defends University’s Bin Laden Money

By Catherine E. Shoichet Harvard Crimson

(U-WIRE) CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In his first campus press conference Tuesday, Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers defended the University’s acceptance of scholarship donations from the bin Laden family.

The Islamic culture scholarships bearing the bin Laden name have come under fire following the attacks on the World Trade Center, as Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect. But while the donations come from people who share bin Laden’s name and blood, they do not share his affiliation with terrorist organizations, Summers said.

“I can understand why questions should be raised,” Summers said. “We have looked very carefully at the support [the University has] received.”

In fact, Summers said, some of the funds were given to Harvard after the Gulf War to foster cooperation between the Middle East and the United States. Summers stressed the importance of ensuring the legitimacy of all financial contributions to Harvard.

“It’s very, very important that the university be a moral institution in the way it carries on and finances its activities,” he said.

The questions at Summers’ first open chat with the press reflected the unusual tenor the beginning of his term has taken since Sept. 11. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon set the tone of his opening days before classes even began.

“It’s been an odd time for me the last few weeks,” Summers said. “The events of Sept. 11 served to create a very different environment, the opposite of an exhilarating time.”

At the same time of year when his predecessors spoke of the coming days of the fall semester, Summers addressed students and faculty at a vigil on the steps of Memorial Church.

Several days later, he penned a letter to the Harvard community discussing the need for tolerance and pledging $1 million to a scholarship fund for victims’ families.

As Summers steps up to lead the university through a time of tragedy, some of his plans have been “diverted a bit” – including the searches for a new provost and a new vice president for government and community affairs.

Still, Summers said he was “making good progress” with the searches and he remained open to comments from the community at large.

“My E-mail address is widely known and my door is open for those who want to weigh in,” he said.

Foreign Students May Face Visa Snags To Go to U.S. Schools

By Matt Ward The Shorthorn

(U-WIRE) ARLINGTON, Texas – International students who plan to attend universities in the United States may encounter closer scrutiny by immigration officials, especially in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Plans for a monitoring system, part of 1996 immigration legislation, already are in place to track foreign students’ academic status, address, visa classification and any possible criminal activity.

But now some international student advocates fear even greater scrutiny soon will become a reality and some foreign students will never realize their dreams of American education.

“In certain areas of the world it was harder to get visas,” said Judy Young, director of the University of Texas-Arlington’s international office, which coordinates foreign student compliance with federal regulations. “Now it may become more difficult for all areas of the world.”

About 514,700 international students attended American universities in 1999 and 2000, contributing more than $12 billion to the country’s economy last year.

With about 2,300 foreign students, mostly from Asia, UTA has one of the largest international student populations in the country. Among the top 40 universities offering doctoral degree programs, UTA was ranked ninth during the 1999 to 2000 school year in the number of international students on campus, according to the Institute of International Education.

Greater oversight of student visa applicants may reduce the number of those entering the country to study, something that has not happened in almost 50 years.

“We certainly anticipate increased scrutiny on everyone entering the country on all visits, including students,” said Ursula Oaks, spokeswoman for NAFSA: Association of International Education, an international student and educator advocacy group.

The group opposed the monitoring system approved under the 1996 immigration law, but now those sentiments have changed.

“We were pushing to repeal that,” Oaks said. “Now we are not doing that.”

The group, however, says it is concerned the monitoring system may be too restrictive. Officials at the Immigration and Naturalization Service support monitoring and are reviewing all immigration policies, including those governing foreign students, an official said.

“Some changes are coming,” said Tomas Zuniga, an INS spokesman. “But we don’t know what they will be or how they will affect immigration. Otherwise, the guidance we are getting about student visas is cloudy. Our focus right now is security.”

Tornado Kills Two Students

By Etan Horowitz The Diamondback

(U-WIRE) COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Colleen and Erin Marlatt had just finished class for the day. The sisters, who did everything together, stopped by the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute on onday to see their father. After the two visited the office where Colleen had worked for three years, he escorted them to their car.

F. Patrick Marlatt said goodbye to his daughters and told them to hurry home because a storm was coming.

Little did he know the storm would change his life.

Three minutes after kissing his daughters goodbye and sending them on their way, Marlatt, the assistant director of the Institute, found himself buried under a pile of rubble. A tornado had hit the University of Maryland campus and in its wrath destroyed the trailers housing the MFRI.

After being stuck in the collapsed building for more than 45 minutes, Marlatt was taken to the Washington Hospital Center where he was treated for minor cuts and bruises.

Dr. Clifford Turen, a longtime family friend, rushed to the hospital to check on Marlatt. At the hospital, they learned the tornado had killed two campus students. Marlatt had been in contact with his wife, who told him their daughters had not returned home yet. Turen said Marlatt realized at that moment those students were his daughters.

“He was in disbelief,” Turen said.

Turen said the women probably did not even get out of the parking lot when their car was picked up by a tornado and thrown over the top of Easton Hall, coming to rest in a wooded area.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.