PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In a message to the campus community Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010, Brown President Ruth J. Simmons announced creation of a committee to coordinate the University’s ongoing response to the earthquake in Haiti. The committee of faculty, students, and staff will be co-chaired by Matthew Gutmann, vice president for international affairs, and Barrymore A. Bogues, professor of Africana studies. The text of the President’s message follows here.
January 14, 2010
Dear Members of the Brown Community,
The distressing situation in Haiti following the massive earthquake has left us all searching for ways of getting involved to bring aid and comfort to the people of Haiti. The urgent need for virtually every category of assistance calls upon us to respond quickly and decisively. Our community has responded generously and thoughtfully to humanitarian emergencies in the past, and I am certain that we can provide creative, effective, and sustained assistance as Haiti begins to rebuild.
Toward that end, I am appointing a committee to coordinate Brown’s relief efforts and to make recommendations about further measures the University community can undertake. Matthew Gutmann, vice president for international affairs, and Barrymore A. Bogues, professor of Africana studies, will co-chair the committee, which will include faculty, administrators, and staff as well as undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.
Many members of the Brown community have expressed an interest in providing support to aid in the relief effort. The University has posted a page listing several organizations raising funds for Haiti. Humanitarian relief agencies are unanimous in pointing out that giving money is the single most effective course of action in the immediate aftermath of the January 12th earthquake. Even in these difficult financial times, I am committing resources to help the committee design ways of raising money that can be immediately applied to address the most urgent needs.
New England has a large community of Haitian immigrants who have strong ties to family members, relatives and friends in Haiti. A number of Brown community members — students, faculty, staff, and alumni — have lost family members or are anxiously awaiting reliable information from home. I want you to know that the University is seeking out and providing support to those members of our community. Please keep them in your thoughts.
Following its meeting this week, the Committee will report to the community on the efforts that we are undertaking as a University. This will not be an undertaking of short duration and we must be prepared to commit to ongoing efforts even after the initial phase of relief is over.
Thank you for your concern for the people of Haiti and for all that you elect to do to assist them in their time of need.