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Editorial: From the Edge

 by Megan Irwin  published on Thursday, September 29, 2005


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I've spent the past few weeks with people who live in a hell I can only imagine. When I decided to write a story about the Hurricane Katrina evacuees who have come to ASU (After the Storm, page 8), I knew it would be tough for them to talk about. I had no idea how tough it would be for me to hear.

Looking into someone's eyes as they softly tell you what it feels like to lose everything, how scary it is to come to a new place and how frustrating it is to be at a university that isn't theirs, is humbling. It really puts things in perspective.

Or at least, it did for me. But as one student, Michael Seidman, tells me, some students at ASU are seriously lacking in the perspective/compassion department. He says when he arrived at his dorm, the other students didn't seem to understand what he'd just been through. They knock on his door and run away, talk about him behind his back and just generally make his life miserable.

The teasing has gotten so bad that, Seidman tells me he's leaving ASU as soon as he has the chance.

"I'm just having such a wretched time," he says "I'd rather get the hell out of here as soon as I can for my sanity's sake."

The type of person who would mock a hurricane victim is probably in the minority at ASU (I hope so at least), but the fact that it's happening at all turns my stomach. It's not that evacuees need to be handled , but some compassion would be nice. As Chris McAndrew, another student I worked with on this story, says "I don't want too special of treatment. I don't have the Ebola virus."

But he does want people to say hi, ask him how he's handling things and maybe invite him to a party or something.

So don't be afraid to talk to them. And while you're at it, go on and buy them a drink. Trust me, they're having a bad week.

Megan Irwin is the Editor in Chief of SPM. Reach her at megan.irwin@asu.edu.



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