When Hurricane Laura swept through Louisiana last week, the University canceled classes to prepare for the storm and allow students to evacuate with their families. 

For pre-med freshman Holli Gorum, evacuation wasn’t a simple task. Gorum’s family lives in Alexandria, so if she went home, she would have been driving toward the storm. 

“My hometown, Alexandria, Louisiana, was getting it worse than we are and where I live on campus,” Gorum said. “My building is concrete, and me and my parents both thought it was safer for me to stay here than drive two hours back home.” 

Gorum said staying at LSU was not an easy choice. She wanted to be with her family during the storm, but recognized it was safer on campus. 

Marine biology freshman Miqenzie Gilberts faced a similar situation. Gilberts is from Lake Charles, so when her family evacuated to Zachary, she stayed at her dorm. 

She did not want to be penalized for missing class work, but she said she was nervous and had difficulty focusing that week. 

Gilbert’s home was destroyed by the hurricane. She said it is still hard to focus on her school work with everything that happened at home and she empathizes with students in similar situations. 

“It sucks [that LSU is continuing classes] because it's hard for those of us from Lake Charles and surrounding areas to focus especially with financial issues and going to help our families [and] friends,” Gilberts said.

The University released a statement announcing that all in-person, online and hybrid courses would resume Aug. 28. 

“If you are unable to travel safely to campus due to your own particular circumstances, please contact your professors/supervisors to make them aware of your situation,” the statement read. “For those without electricity or internet access tomorrow who cannot participate in remote classes or scheduled activities, please contact your professors/supervisors as soon as you can. Faculty and supervisors are asked to be flexible with students and employees who may have extenuating circumstances.”

Political communications and English sophomore Tatum Comeaux said the University should have accommodations for students from Southwestern Louisiana. 

Though classes are continuing, Comeaux plans to help Lake Charles residents this week by housing storm victims and locating donation drop off locations in Baton Rouge. She said the LSU community is not reacting appropriately to the state’s tragedy. 

“I find it appalling,” Comeaux said. “A good majority of our students have their family or friends who are facing long-term homeless are without service and water for months and struggling to find places to stay.” 

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