Thoughtfulness in a time of giving

The University should be applauded for its outreach to students displaced by Katrina.

On Sept. 1, University officials announced that the Twin Cities campus would begin an emergency admissions policy for students affected by Hurricane Katrina. It allows qualified students to gain admission to the University as early as this fall. The Board of Regents also approved a measure allowing tuition to be waived for students who have paid tuition to other institutions whose doors have closed. So far, 45 students have been admitted to the University through the new policy.

In a time when many question the integrity of University administrative actions, it is refreshing to see the University open educational opportunities instead of close them. The administration should be applauded for their efforts. Furthermore, countless other acts of compassion in and around the University community deserve the same applause. Everyone would do well to adapt the generosity shown in these instances.

It is incumbent upon University students to ask the larger questions that this crisis and its subsequent response point to. Recently there have been many questions regarding the personal responsibility of the hurricane refugees. Considering that 20 percent of New Orleans citizens live at or below the poverty level and that no mass transit was provided to evacuate the people, the more important question is, “What responsibility do the federal and state governments have?” and, “Where is the accountability in the federal and state government?”According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, its sole purpose is to respond to, plan for, recover from and mitigate disasters. The thousands of dead and stranded show that the government’s laissez-faire approach did not work. The market alone did not and will not save people.

Everyone can do more than just donate money. The Red Cross needs volunteers to replace those who have been tirelessly working the past few weeks. Local fire departments are accepting clothes and other items. More importantly, we must reflect as we give with an eye toward preventing failures in the future.