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A Letter from President

January 15, 2010

Dear Members of the University Community:

All of us are alarmed and saddened by the disaster unfolding in Haiti after this week's catastrophic earthquake.

We particularly mourn the loss of Stephanie Jean-Charles, a 2009 College graduate and master's-degree student at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. A resident of Port-au-Prince, Ms. Jean-Charles was at home with her family when the earthquake struck. She suffered a fatal head injury. I know that all of you join me in grieving for her and feeling profound concern for her family.

Several faculty and staff members and students have been engaged in programs or service work recently in Haiti -- including persons from the hospital, Medical School, Nursing, and others areas across the Grounds -- but no official University programs were active in Haiti this week. Several members of our community are reported to have been in the country. We are continuing efforts to track the whereabouts of those persons. This work is difficult because of the destruction of Haiti's communications infrastructure. We will post verified information as it becomes available on the University's home page. Anyone seeking news of a member of our community who may have been in Haiti can contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at or at 434-982-0565.

As this disaster unfolds, faculty and staff members from the Health System, Office of Emergency Preparedness, Office of the Provost, Office of Student Affairs, and University Human Relations are working together to respond and to assist. Many have asked how we can help with the relief efforts. A list of information sources is posted online. The Washington Post has compiled a list of charities that are collecting donations.

Governor Kaine and Governor-Elect McDonnell have created a system for state employees to contribute to the earthquake relief effort through the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC). State employees and University employees who wish to contribute can write a personal check to "International Disaster Relief - Haiti." The CVC Volunteer Coordinator for your area will collect the checks. The CVC office in Richmond will forward 100 percent of these donations directly to the American Red Cross for immediate use by the International Disaster Services Team.

I am grateful to our faculty and staff members and students who are quickly taking action to help mitigate the effects of this disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

John Casteen