President’s Statement on Turkey and Syria

To the UConn Community:

Over the past week, we have all seen with great concern and sorrow the devastating impact of the Feb. 6 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, and on behalf of the UConn community, we would like to express our sympathy for those affected by this major natural disaster.

The University of Connecticut has close and highly valued ties with both countries, and we are contacting our students, alumni, faculty, and staff who have personal and family connections to this unfolding tragedy, letting them know they are in our thoughts. The UConn community is also committed to providing what assistance we can to help during this distressing and heartbreaking time.

The earthquakes have compounded the suffering of many individuals in the region, but we are hopeful that the incredible resilience of the Turkish and Syrian people, much on display in recent years, will help them through this dreadful time. It is also encouraging to see the international community responding with such speed and bringing all possible resources to bear.

The UConn Turkish Student Association has started a fundraiser to support the Turkish Philanthropy Funds’ Gaziantep Earthquake Relief Fund, which will be used to provide food, emergency supplies, and temporary relief to displaced families.

If you’re interested in supporting other organizations, our human rights faculty have identified additional non-profits which are assisting with rescue and recovery efforts, including:

Syrian American Medical Society Foundation
AKUT Search and Rescue Association
Bridge to Türkiye Fund
Disasters Emergency Committee

This is a difficult time for the University as we navigate the many emotions people have after experiencing natural disasters. Please remember that resources are available for any students, faculty, or staff needing support.

Students can stop by the Dean of Students office in Wilbur Cross Building Room 203 without appointment during drop-in hours (Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.), or they may call 860-486-3426 to request a meeting with an Assistant Dean.

Student Health & Wellness – Mental Health Services, located on the 4th floor of the Arjona Building, is available to provide support to students who may be struggling.

To make an appointment with SHAW-Mental Health, call 860-486-4705 or schedule an appointment online. In addition, information about managing grief can be found on the SHAW-Mental Health website. If you need help more immediately, resources can be accessed here.

UConn International Student and Scholar Services staff are also available to support international students and visiting scholars who may need help to navigate resources and options during this difficult time. Information about drop-in services or scheduling an advisor appointment can be found here. Also, check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Humanitarian webpage for updates on any U.S. government programs and benefits extended to citizens of specific countries in times of hardship.

Staff and faculty are encouraged to reach out to UConn’s Employee Assistance Program if they need support.

Leading with joy and love for all,

Radenka Maric

Anne D’Alleva
Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Daniel Weiner
Vice President for Global Affairs

Michael Gilbert
Vice President for Student Affairs