By Leandra Rolle
DISPLACED students from the University of The Bahamas’ Northern Campus yesterday thanked Hampton University after it announced they would be provided with another free semester at the institution.
Kristoff Strachan, a junior currently majoring in history at Hampton University, said the announcement was officially made by university president Dr William Harvey on Thursday.
“There was a dinner during the week of homecoming (at the university). I was invited to the dinner by the president and I gave a little presentation about everything related to us (Bahamians) being there,” he said.
“It was at that dinner that the board of trustees decided that they were going to allow us stay beyond the semester, but it was not until last week Thursday that the president announced to all of the other Bahamian students.”
UB North’s campus, in East Grand Bahama, was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. The university has since resumed classes at its downtown centre in Freeport.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, Hampton University, a historically black institution in the US, offered to enrol displaced UB North students so they could continue their studies - 47 students traveled to Virginia last month to take up the offer.
Initially, students were offered free enrolment as well as room and board for one semester and the option to stay at Hampton once the semester is over at regular rates for tuition and fees.
But, now, the university has decided to extend it’s offer and according to Kristoff, the same conditions apply for those students who wish to remain.
“We have to have good academic standing with the university and also we have to be in good disciplinary standing as well. The academic standing is that we had to have been pursuing a minimum of 12 credits and we have to have a minimum of I think 2.0. In addition to that, you could not have been involved in any egregious disciplinary actions that resulted in some serious offence being made,” he said
Like many other Bahamian students at Hampton, Kristoff said he is very grateful for Hampton’s offer.
“We’re all grateful. Our families are grateful and even the wider communities. I told this to Dr Harvey. I told him that the entire country is grateful for what they have done for us,” he told The Tribune.
Another Bahamian student - who wished to remain anonymous - also thanked the university.
According to Kristoff, the majority of the students have decided to continue their studies at Hampton, but there are some who plan to transfer elsewhere.
“There are a few of them who are looking into leaving simply because their majors aren’t being offered here at Hampton (but) most of the persons here are excited and are planning to stay. I’m also one of them who plans to stay into next semester,” he added.
To show their appreciation, Kristoff said the Bahamian students will be hosting a dinner on Sunday for Dr Harvey and other organisations who have assisted during their stay at the university.