DU offer to bring Haitians remains up in air

No decision has been made yet regarding President Marvalene Hughes’ offer to have Haitian university students and faculty members displaced by the catastrophic Jan. 12 earthquake come to Dillard although discussions are continuing.


Hughes said she could not say how many students or faculty Dillard administrators believe can be accommodated nor who would foot the bill. She also could not say when a decision could be expected nor when the Haitian group might be expected.


But she added: “I feel strongly about the interconnecting of the people of the universe, and I strongly believe that those of us who are more fortunate should give a hand in the uplifting of other people.”


If it happens, Hughes said, it will be the result of a great deal of negotiation.


Hughes made the offer to accept students and faculty in a letter dated Jan. 20 to former President Bill Clinton, whose William J. Clinton Foundation is an integral part of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund effort along with the along with Communities Foundation of Texas, led by former President George W. Bush.


Clinton responded on Feb. 10, thanking the university for its offer and asking that a member of the DU team contact Laura Graham, his chief of staff, who is coordinating these efforts. Dr. David Taylor, provost, visited New York on March 3 to discuss DU’s proposal.


Graham did not respond to a Courtbouillon request for an interview.


According to the Edmonton Journal, a Canadian newspaper, at least three major universities were destroyed during the earthquake in the poverty-stricken country where the education system already bore the strain of a lack of learning materials and buildings with infrastructural damage. The three are the University of Haiti, Quisqueya University and the Universite des Caraibes.


An estimated 1,500 primary schools and 1,500 secondary schools were destroyed or seriously damaged, the newspaper said.


A benefit concert at Dillard raised $2,500 for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, where 100 percent of donations are used for Haitian earthquake relief efforts. Dillard’s donation is one of more than 200,000 donations collected totaling more than $31 million, according to the fund Web site.


To donate to the fund, text the work “QUAKE” to 20222, and $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill. You also may send your donation to the fund c/o William J. Clinton Foundation, Donations Department, 610 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201.


(Deri’Andra Tucker contributed to this report.)