Hurricane Maria, a powerful Category 4 hurricane with winds over 150 mph, made direct landfall on the island of Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, decimating most of its infrastructure and leaving around 3.5 million U.S. citizens on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Today, millions of Puerto Ricans are still living in primitive conditions without power or enough food or water. A week after Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact, the University’s leadership has yet to express its support towards the Puerto Rican community on Grounds.
It is worrying that such a lack of support from the University’s leadership towards the Puerto Rican community on Grounds has pervaded with such a large magnitude throughout this disaster. Local coverage on the current Puerto Rican humanitarian crisis has been minimal, the expressed support from top student organizations has been largely absent and the help of University administrators and officials has yet to be offered. Not a single email has been sent out by anyone from the administration — such as President Teresa Sullivan, Executive Vice President Patrick D. Hogan or Dean of Students Allen Groves — to the University’s Puerto Rican community regarding the dire conditions of their home island. When a natural disaster of this magnitude destroys the home of members of the University community, the leaders of this University’s administration have a responsibility to express their support. It must be incredibly disheartening for our fellow Puerto Rican “Hoos” to keep receiving emails from University officials on voter registration and the launch of the bicentennial weekend while their family and friends are struggling every day for food, water and fuel.
The University’s leadership has left Puerto Rican students to fend for themselves in dealing with this crisis at home. With their family, friends and another 3.5 million U.S. citizens in the middle of a humanitarian disaster, the Puerto Rican community at the University — which is considerably smaller than other communities on Grounds — has been eager to organize relief efforts and mobilize resources to aid their home. While have been underway with the help of smaller organizations on Grounds, they need more help. An unequivocal display of support by the administration would go a long way towards reassuring Puerto Rican students that the University community is behind them during such a troubling time.
If you would like to donate to Hurricane Maria relief efforts, visit and .