The University has been unable to get in contact with some students from the tsunami-hit areas. As the University’s search draws to a close, 25 to 30 students of the 850 from the region have yet to be located, said interim Dean of Students Sue Eklund.
She added that the names of the missing students will be released after the search by the schools and academic departments is complete in the next few days. The University did not know whether the 25 to 30 students yet to be located went home to the affected countries over break.
In response to last month’s tsunami disaster, the University conducted a search of all students who are citizens in the 12 countries affected by the tsunami, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.
“We’ve repeatedly sent out e-mails, we’ve repeatedly telephoned people and we have asked the academic units to help us identify whether people were back or not, and they’ve identified some students that hadn’t responded to us,” Eklund said.
The various schools, such as the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the School of Engineering, as well as departments within the schools, have been checking frequently with professors and other staff to see if students from these countries have been in class. If students are still not accounted for, the University will try to contact them in their home countries.
Another measure the University took to find the students was to check if the students were registered for the winter term.
“Of course if they were not registered there was a good chance they were not intending to be here,” Eklund said. She noted that while the University had found a few students that were not registered, they were still considered to be a part of the group of 25-30 students yet to be located.
Malaysian Student Association Vice President Nur Wahab said the University contacted her group in their efforts to find students.
“The International Center sent each and every one of us an e-mail, asking whether we can go to school or not,” Wahab said. She added that everyone in MSA was safely in Ann Arbor and no one had missing family members.
The University has received reports from students about family and property loss, but none of the students have been hurt themselves.
“We still have no report of death or physical injury, although there has been a few students that have contacted us that they are unable to return because their families’ property or hometown has suffered a lot of destruction and they’ve stayed home or traveled home to help with that,” Eklund said, adding that approximately six students have been unable to return so far.
An e-mail sent out by Christine Butchart-Bailey, assistant to the dean of students, said that 15 of the students still trying to be located are in Rackham.
The other countries included in the search are Somalia, Maldives, Malaysia, Burma, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Kenya and Seychelles.