Chapter House fire

On behalf of the entire Cornell University community, we express our sympathy and support for the 44 students, two staff members and two members of the Ithaca community who were displaced early last Tuesday morning by the fire on the 400 block of Stewart Avenue. Nineteen people lost all of their possessions. Fortunately, nobody was injured when the fire destroyed the Chapter House and an apartment building, but as the days pass, we must not forget the emotional impact of such an experience and the sudden disruption of the residents' lives at a critical point in the semester.

Our thanks go to the first responders and crisis managers who were on the scene almost immediately. We also are so grateful for the outpouring of assistance from individuals and organizations in the Cornell and Ithaca communities, including staff from the Red Cross who helped everyone displaced. Their compassionate actions have taken many forms to help meet immediate and more extended needs, including establishing ways to make monetary donations, as reported in the Cornell Chronicle and the Cornell Daily Sun.

University groups quickly mobilized to arrange financial support. The Students Helping Students Fund, administered by the Student Assembly Financial Aid Review Committee and the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment, is providing assistance to the displaced undergraduates. Several Cornell colleges, schools and offices are coordinating funding to assist graduate and professional students. The university's Emergency CARE Fund is assisting the staff members.

All of us have opportunities to help. As a caring community, let us continue to offer compassion and other expressions of support to help those who were displaced feel as secure and settled as possible while they recover from the impact of the fire.

David Skorton

Susan Murphy
Vice President, Student and Academic Services