Although post-tropical storm Sandy—downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane Monday evening—left Durham relatively unscathed, the massive weather system is making itself known to the wider Duke community.
The deadline for early decision applicants has been extended from Nov. 1 to Nov. 4 in order to give extra time to potential applicants who may lose power in the storm. Additionally, students participating in Duke in New York: Arts and Media did not have class Monday, though they were not forced to evacuate. At the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C., students have experienced interference with data collection.
The storm has also disrupted transportation for those travelling to campus. Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor and former ambassador to China, was scheduled to speak on campus this evening, but his appearance has been cancelled.
The decision to push the early decision deadline back was made in part because of the storm, but also because several students contacted the Office of Admissions expressing concern that their scores from the Nov. 3 SAT testing date would not be accepted with their applications, said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag. Although the scores would have been accepted, the deadline was extended to alleviate applicants’ concerns, as well as to provide an injury period for those affected by the storm.
“Two things presented themselves at the same time,” Guttentag said. “It’s not going to affect our processing. [Applicants] are going to feel better, and anybody who is affected by the storm is going to have a couple of extra days.”
Historically, early decision applicants have waited until the last minute to submit their applications, he added.
“It’ll be interesting to see whether the hurricane has any effect on early decision applicants,” he said. “We’ll see if there are any people that were waiting until the last minute and then all of a sudden if you’re without power for five days, it makes it hard to apply.”
Julia Carp, a high school senior from Penn Valley, Pa., a suburb outside of Philadelphia, already submitted her early decision application. She noted, however, that many people in her area have lost power and were worried before the storm hit about getting applications in on time.
“Some of my friends applying to other schools felt very rushed to get their applications in because they weren’t sure if their power was going out, and those schools didn’t extend the deadline,” Carp said. “So I thought it was, overall, very fair and very considerate.”
Guttentag said the threat of the storm alone would have been enough to prompt the deadline extension, adding that he expects other peer institutions to extend their deadlines as well.
“Last week... it was pretty clear that the storm was going to hit somewhere in the mid-Atlantic to New England region,” Guttentag said. “There are a lot of students in the mid-Atlantic and New England who apply early decision, not just to Duke but to a lot of schools. Part of it was being proactive and anticipating that the storm was going to likely affect early decision applicants.”
Duke was not alone in extending the deadline. More than 30 universities, including Brown University, Stanford University and Dartmouth College, extended their early application deadlines or announced that they would be flexible if the hurricane delayed applications.
Duke in New York: Arts and Media participants, who live in Brooklyn Heights—an elevated area across the East River from the financial district of Manhattan—did not have class Monday due to inclement weather. Program participants were not forced to evacuate, but junior David Lillington said he witnessed effects of heavy winds and rain.
“We just received an email telling us not to go outside because of flying debris,” Lillington said Monday night.
He added that police were patrolling the streets outside to ensure that the roads were left completely accessible for emergency vehicles.
Classes are expected to resume on Wednesday, said Duke in New York program director Marianna Torgovnick, who is also a professor of English.
“We’re most concerned about the loss of power,” Torgovnick wrote in an email Monday. “Fortunately, the students are housed in Brooklyn Heights—and ‘the Heights’ are elevated. So we are hoping everyone will ride out the storm with minimal inconvenience and total safety.”
As of 9:30 p.m. Monday, Lillington’s building, which houses more than 1,400 college students, had not lost power.
Classes were not cancelled at the Marine Lab, junior Dwight Dipasquale wrote in an email Monday. He noted, however, that he and his fellow Marine Lab classmates have experienced difficulty doing research.
“We tried to sail to a nearby island to collect samples over the weekend, but we were forced to turn around due to the storm,” he said. “It began pouring rain and we could not row against strong wind currents. Therefore, we cannot collect samples until the storm passes.”
The Marine Lab has not lost power, but wind and heavy rain have confined students indoors, he added. Rain has mostly subsided in Beaufort, but wind remains intense and the tides are strong.
“The water level has also risen above the sea wall surrounding the lab in some areas,” he noted.
Huntsman’s second campus address, which was scheduled to take place this evening at the Sanford School of Public Policy, has been canceled due to travel disruptions from Sandy. The University hopes to reschedule Huntsman’s appearance for the Spring semester, according to a Monday press release.
Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta sent an email to the student body Monday night, offering his support to those whose family and friends have been affected by the storm and urging students to support each other and take advantage of Counseling and Psychological Services if need be.
“I’m not sure how we can help, but your family are our extended family and if there’s anything we can do to support you, please do let us know,” he wrote.