A Letter from President Bounds and the Chancellors
To the Students, Faculty and Staff of the University of Nebraska:
Over the past few weeks our state has experienced devastating flooding that has impacted thousands of Nebraskans, including many members of our University community. Our hearts are with those who are dealing with the aftermath of this natural disaster, and with the first responders who have courageously assisted Nebraskans in need.
The University of Nebraska is committed to providing support and expertise however we can in the weeks, months and years ahead. Already, we have taken a number of steps to ensure our students’ success in these difficult times, to assist those in our University community who have been impacted, and to be a good partner to the people of Nebraska as we begin the long road to recovery.
“The University of Nebraska is committed to providing support and expertise however we can in the weeks, months and years ahead.”
Our efforts are outlined briefly below. We encourage you to visit our flood assistance site to learn more.
Supporting Our Students
Our highest priority is making certain this natural disaster does not impede any student’s ability to be successful. Under the leadership of the chief academic officers, each campus will provide leniency for current and incoming students whose families, homes, communities or financial situation have been impacted so they can continue on the path to a University degree.
New Actions to Help Those Impacted
Thanks to the good work of our human resources team, we are opening opportunities for employees to assist colleagues and Nebraskans in need:
- First, we have created a new five-day Civil Leave allowance under which employees can receive up to 40 hours of civil leave to volunteer in flood recovery efforts. The leave allowance will be available until further notice from the NU President’s Office.
- Second, we have created a catastrophic leave program that allows employees to receive up to two work weeks of catastrophic leave if they or an immediate family member has been impacted by the flooding and need to attend to personal matters but have exhausted vacation leave. Employees also have the opportunity to donate to a catastrophic leave “bank” that can be an additional lifeline for colleagues in crisis.
Your campus human resources office can provide you with more information on either of these opportunities.
A new University of Nebraska Foundation Emergency Assistance Fund also is accepting donations to support students and employees who face sudden financial hardship resulting from natural disasters, home displacement, food security or other crises.
Building off a successful model with the Rural Futures Institute, we will fund 50 Flood Recovery Serviceships for University of Nebraska students this summer. This program will place 50 students in impacted communities across Nebraska, with a focus on:
- Engaging local leaders active in flood recovery efforts and contributing in ways that add value.
- Identifying service projects (immediate or longer-term) that could be addressed by teams of students, staff or faculty, and facilitating projects to be conducted this summer.
- Representing the University of Nebraska and connecting our resources with local needs.
Application materials will be available on April 10th.
Recovery will be a marathon, not a sprint. We have an opportunity to be thoughtful and coordinated about putting our expertise – in mental health, infrastructure, business development, agriculture, law and other areas – to work as we help our neighbors and communities rebuild.
We are fortunate that Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension, has agreed to lead this coordinated effort on behalf of the University. Dean Hibberd has assembled a University-wide Disaster Recovery Coordinating Committee that will facilitate volunteer activities and pursue partnerships where our expertise is needed. If you’re interested in volunteering, we’d ask you to reach out to your campus Volunteer Coordinator, who can point you to appropriate opportunities. Campus representatives for the Disaster Recovery Coordinating Committee include:
- UNK: Ted Eichholz (Lead and Volunteer Coordinator)
- UNL: Mark Robertson (Lead), Linda Moody (Volunteer Coordinator)
- UNMC: Elayne Saejung (Lead and Volunteer Coordinator)
- UNO: Dave Points (Lead and Volunteer Coordinator)
- UNCA: Phil Bakken (Lead and Volunteer Coordinator)
Additionally, Nebraska Extension offers extensive information and resources for individuals and families, businesses, homeowners, and farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods have been impacted by natural disaster.
There can be significant public health issues in responding to flooding of this magnitude. The University of Nebraska Medical Center has a variety of resources available to help ensure the safety of those responding to the impacts of the flood.
And, as always, one of the best ways you can give is financially. We encourage you to visit the Nebraska Strong website recently unveiled by Governor Ricketts to explore opportunities to contribute money or other resources.
Nebraska has been the University’s home for 150 years. Particularly in times of need, we take seriously our role to serve our state. We will be a partner as Nebraska rebuilds, however long it takes, and we will continue to update you on how you can help.
Thank you for all you do on behalf of our University and great state.
Hank Bounds, Ph.D.
President, University of Nebraska
Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D
Chancellor, University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Omaha
Ronnie Green, Ph.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Doug Kristensen, J.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney