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Welcome Back, Students (Hurricane Harvey)

Dear University of Houston Students,

What a week of havoc and heroism it has been! While the dark clouds of Harvey have dispersed and sun is shining, we are constantly reminded that many people are still without homes and cars. Many are traumatized, many are feeling disillusioned and many more are simply trying to take it one day at a time. Please know that your professors and staff members are also in the same situation since this storm spared no one.

And yet, we have to begin the process of recovery. We have to bounce back, to regain a sense of normalcy and move forward. You are our future, and we are dedicated to your educational experience. So, it is within this context that we have made the decision to open the campus and resume classes tomorrow, Sept. 5. We are doing so with three commitments in mind: maximum flexibility, full support and heart-felt compassion toward students.

We have extended all deadlines and have opened both a Financial Reconsideration Appeal (FRA) and Cougar Emergency Fund process to provide relief to those affected by the hurricane. A delayed return to classes may be possible for those who cannot return Tuesday. Temporary housing is available to displaced students, albeit the supply is really limited. A counseling line is open 24/7 for those who feel the need for emotional support. A collection of conscientious residence hall students has launched a Facebook Group while the University has initiated a Cougars Care portal (through AccessUH) to connect students with one another and find help.

Provost Short has asked all professors to use their best judgment in balancing the needs of their students and the demands of the curriculum. I know that your professors will do their best to use multiple delivery modes and flexible assessments to allow you to balance your recovery needs with your educational goals. UH professors are known for their rigor and compassion, and these are the qualities that are most often praised by alumni of the University. If you have not heard from your professors yet, please try to establish contact with them before driving to the campus.

Your department chairs and deans are also committed to providing you maximum support and flexibility. They stand ready to help you with your specific challenges.

Please feel free to contact your adviser for academic questions and visit the Harvey FAQ pageeasily accessible from University’s main webpage. Send your unanswered questions to We are individually responding to your questions and concerns as quickly as possible. As we learn of more issues and find solutions to them, we will keep notifying you.

Finally, let me thank hundreds of students who have been volunteering at various shelters and distribution locations. If you are interested in helping others, register yourself with UH CARES, a program that organizes volunteers and deploys students based on their interests and skillsets.

We realize this is a difficult and challenging time, but your education is important to you, as it is to us. We are committed to helping you finish the journey that you have started with us. I wish you the very best and look forward to seeing you around campus soon.

With warm regards,
Renu Khator