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Battered Florida Colleges Regroup in Ian’s Wake

Battered Florida Colleges Regroup in Ian’s Wake

Inside Higher Ed

Liam Knox
October 3, 2022
Colleges and universities in southwestern and central Florida are assessing damage and evaluating reopening plans in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
Some colleges that prepared for severe conditions, including the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida, emerged from the storm with minimal damage and were able to reopen residence halls by Friday morning.
Others were hit harder.
Bethune-Cookman University, a historically Black institution in Daytona Beach, is located in the center of what the Federal Emergency Management Agency designated a “special flood hazard area” of the storm. The university evacuated all students and staff from campus last Monday in anticipation of the dangerous conditions. By Friday afternoon, flooding and severe winds had done significant damage to much of the campus, including historic buildings.
Karen Parks, BCU’s executive director of communications, said Friday that the university has yet to do a full damage assessment, but the campus would remain closed until it does.
“We still feel the storm’s impact,” she wrote in an email to Inside Higher Ed. “Once we have determined the storm’s impact, we will work on how and when to bring our students back to campus safely.”
After surveying the damage to campus and the surrounding area, Florida Gulf Coast University canceled classes until Monday, Oct. 10. During the storm, residential and commuter students sought shelter in the university’s Alico Arena, which had been a public shelter during Hurricane Irma in 2017; many remained there through Friday evening.
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