May 11, 2009
TO THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY
Dear Colleagues, Students, Parents, and Friends:
The past several days have been an exceptionally difficult and challenging time for our community. Now that the Jesusita Fire is gradually and steadily being contained, I would like to take a moment to thank all of our faculty, staff, and student volunteers who stepped forward without hesitation to assist in efforts to help our community. Your generosity, compassion, and care once again demonstrated what a very special community we share.
I would also like to thank all those in our surrounding communities, at our sister campuses, and at the UC Office of the President who called and wrote to offer their sympathy, encouragement, and support. UC President Mark Yudof has been following the situation closely and asked me to personally convey his gratitude to our students, faculty, and staff for your tremendous spirit of volunteerism and all your hard work to alleviate the suffering of your friends and neighbors.
Since Thursday, several hundred evacuees have been accommodated on our campus. Governor Schwarzenegger visited the shelter at our Multi-Activity Center on Saturday and commended the Red Cross and our campus for our partnership in assisting our community during this emergency. Most of the evacuation orders were lifted this weekend, and evacuees have been able to return to their homes. We and the Red Cross will continue to accommodate the two dozen or so remaining evacuees at our MAC shelter for as long as needed.
On behalf of UC Santa Barbara, I extend our heartfelt appreciation to the firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel, and others who have worked so hard and effectively to keep our community safe. We also salute the tireless volunteers of the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other community organizations who helped provide shelter, aid, and comfort to those in need. We are grateful that the worst seems to be over and our community can begin focusing on recovery efforts.
Henry T. Yang