STATEMENT FROM THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF UNIVERSITY OF THE BAHAMAS-NORTH
8th September 2019
Serving as Vice President of UB-North has been the greatest honour of my career as an educator. It has been a pleasure serving our students and working each and every day to make their learning journey more exciting, fulfilling and successful. Our UB-North team was building momentum and crafting a vision for all that could be possible on our campus, for the betterment of the northern region and the Bahamas at large.
In light of this, Hurricane Dorian’s destructive impact has been heart-breaking. There has been so much destruction, so much loss and so much displacement in Grand Bahama and Abaco. People of every walk of life have been hit hard by this storm. Even now, we are still holding out hope that many relatives and friends that we haven’t heard from will emerge alive and well. When the death toll and the property damage are finally reported we will see that this was the worst disaster in modern Bahamian history.
In the face of this sudden destruction, it has still been so heartwarming to see the outpouring of love and concern expressed by our fellow citizens throughout the country and by our international neighbours; and it has been just as heartwarming to know that concern is matched by an unreserved willingness to help in any tangible way possible. We will need all the help we can get to rebuild our homes and communities and to build our new UB-North campus!
In the face of this unfathomable tragedy, we must pause to honour our people’s courage and indomitable will to survive. So many ordinary people did incredibly heroic things during this storm, and so many men, women and children have stood strong, hoping against hope in the midst of this unprecedented catastrophe. In spite of our sorrow, we can also feel immense pride in all the emergency workers, the brave parents and neighbours, the selfless volunteers, the fearless uniformed officers who have shown what Bahamians are really made of. We have the guts, the persistence, the ingenuity and the passion to do whatever we set our minds to!
In light of this, our team at UB-North publicly pledges our commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with members of the communities we serve, to rebuild.
We wish to clarify that any information circulating on social media suggesting that the Fall 2019 semester at UB North is cancelled, is totally false. The administration, faculty, and staff have met, and we are determined to make access to classes possible for as many students as are able to continue. We know how important this news is, especially for our graduating Seniors completing in May. We will deliver and not let you down!
Our goal is to re-convene classes on Monday, September 30th. We are currently in talks with schools in the area to identify alternative locations to facilitate our classes. Those talks are going extremely well. We will announce these locations and schedules as soon as they are finalized. Because of the destruction of offices in the east, staff and faculty will be working from our downtown centre in the Teachers’ Credit Union Building on West Atlantic Drive, which has suffered no damage from the storm. Classes that were formerly scheduled there will continue at that location once the semester starts again.
Students who feel they are not able to continue their studies this term will be allowed to withdraw without academic penalty. Instead, they will be allowed to take the courses in subsequent terms when they are offered again. We are making every effort to provide additional financial aid to those students not covered by the Government Tertiary Grant programme.
Sadly, our new residential facility, Hawksbill Hall, has suffered major damage and will have to be closed indefinitely. We are working to find housing alternatives for those student residents from other islands who wish to remain in Grand Bahama. The university is also prepared to provide transition assistance to all affected students who will find it necessary to transfer to the Oakes Field campus.
A general meeting will be held for all UB-North students, who are able to attend, next week Tuesday, September 10th at Jubilee Cathedral at 1pm. Parents and guardians are also welcome. We have also set up a WhatsApp Hotline for parents and students who wish to ask questions or inform us of any special needs: (242) 442-2931.
In conclusion, God is Lord of the storm and the sunny day. In all things we give thanks and seek to know His will and to do it. God bless you.
Dr. Ian G. Strachan
Office of University Relations
University of The Bahamas
2nd Floor, Michael H. Eldon Complex
University Drive, Oakes Field Campus
P.O. Box N-4912
Nassau, The Bahamas
Tel: (242) 302-4355/4354/4366
Chartered on 10th November 2016, University of The Bahamas (UB) is a beacon for national transformation. Approximately 5,000 students are enrolled in the University of The Bahamas system which includes campuses and centres on New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and Abaco, as well as UB online education. UB’s diverse academic programmes, research engagements, athletics and leadership development experiences equip our students to become global citizens in a dynamic world. For more information, visit www.ub.edu.bs.