David E. Van Zandt, President
October 31, 2012
The New School is fortunate to have emerged from Hurricane Sandy without any reported injuries. Nevertheless, it is difficult to estimate how long it will take the region to recover. Our decision to remain closed until Monday, November 5, was prompted by many factors. With ConEd hard at work, we cannot yet provide a reliable estimate of when power will be restored. Despite the complications of a lost week on a busy calendar, our physical plant is simply impossible to operate without power. Limited public transit means many students, faculty, and administrative staff cannot get to campus. I encourage those who can to spend the next few days somewhere with power. Until electricity returns to all of our residences, Arnhold Hall will provide continued services and residences other than William Street will stay open.
With recovery continuing, many of us spent Tuesday at Arnhold Hall talking with students and working with staff to create as comfortable a space as possible. Witnessing the upbeat energy at 55 West 13th Street, you would never have imagined the darkness outside. Students stood in groups, offering strangers something to eat and passing newly charged cell phones back and forth for calls to family and friends out-of-state. Last night, MyNewSchool and Blackboard came back online and I was heartened to see many eagerly returning to coursework, putting the hurricane squarely in the past.
Acts of generosity by staff and students alike have been staggering. One member of the maintenance staff left the house at 4 am and walked all the way from Queens to be on campus at 7 am. When we re-open on Monday, I ask you to make a point of thanking our housing, security, dining, facilities, and IT teams. To an individual, they have worked without complaint to keep students clean, nourished, wired, and safe.
Many questions remain about missed classes, registration deadlines, and exams. Early decision deadlines have been extended until November 15 and the open enrollment period for staff will continue until after Thanksgiving. We will share other details as we have them, guided by the principle that no one should face an impossible burden because of the storm. Getting through the next few days will require everyone’s understanding. The kindness, compassion, and patience I have witnessed all week will continue to show The New School community in its best light. Easing others’ discomfort, you make the very best of a challenging situation.