Campus responds to acts of terrorism

News of last week’s terrorist attacks hit the UCSD community quickly, prompting swift response from the administration.

Lyon Liew

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph Watson met with his council last week to discuss what steps the administration would take. The council decided to keep the campus open and to communicate directly with the UCSD community, providing support to individuals who might be affected either directly or indirectly by the tragedy.

Hundreds of people and local news crews gathered in the Price Center on two separate occasions last week.

The first time, it was for a memorial service hosted by the Office of Religious Affairs on Wednesday, Sept. 12, the day after the terrorist attacks.

Tyler Huff

Friday, a ceremony was held recognizing Sept. 14 as a Day of National Prayer and Remembrance. At noon, UCSD joined other UC campuses in observing a moment of silence for the deceased and others who were affected.

According to Chancellor Robert C. Dynes, it was an occasion to join with the nation to grieve, heal and regain hope for a better future.

At the service, Dynes called the attacks “”unimaginable”” and said he felt “”horror, anger, sorrow, confusion and disbelief.””

Red, white and blue ribbons adorned campus trees to symbolize the UCSD community’s solidarity, and organizers passed out UCSD lapel pins to reflect, as Dynes said, “”who we are, and how we have and how we will band together.

“”Remember those who lost their lives, those who have been left behind, the injured, the survivors, the caregivers and the rescue workers,”” Dynes said to mourners. “”Do your part to sustain the healing of your family, friends, neighbors, community and nation.””

After the silence, mourners sang an impromptu rendition of “”God Bless America.””

Dynes granted two hours’ administrative leave for all UCSD employees so they could attend memorial services. He also requested in a campuswide e-mail that supervisors be flexible and liberal with employees’ use of extra leave.

During Wednesday’s memorial service, community religious leaders spoke to students, faculty and community members. The speakers included the Coordinator of Religious Affairs, the Rev. Mark Padrez; the Rev. Gary Anderson from the Methodist community; Lynn Neu from the Catholic Community at UCSD; and rabbi Lisa Goldstein from the Union of Jewish Students.

Padrez said that the ceremony was intended to “”galvanize our feelings”” and to “”allow those feelings to be expressed in a very positive and life-giving way.”” He also hopes that it “”propels us to offer hope, faith and encouragement to one another.””

The quiet crowd listened as speakers said prayers and recited Bible verses. Violinist and UCSD graduate student Roummel Marcia played. Some joined in a song, singing the recurring lyric, “”Hear our prayer.””

After the service, Goldstein reminded students not to point fingers.

“”My great concern is that there’s sort of a hysteria … and my concern is that some of this hysteria will be targeted against specific groups of students,”” Goldstein said. “”I think we need to be very careful … we can’t assume anything about anyone. We need to be able to connect with people as individuals.””

Monika Albers, a UCSD student from Germany and one of many in attendance Wednesday, offered an international perspective as well as a fear shared by many Americans.

“”Europeans are all scared and concerned,”” Albers said. “”A lot of [them] arrived from the planes that crashed. It’s unbelievable … we could have been them.””

Revelle College Council Chair Mark Stickel also witnessed the memorial and said students should expect to see action from the A.S. Council, including talks of relief donations and a campus blood drive in the near future.

“”There needs to be support for and from everyone,”” Stickel said. “”Communication is key. An open dialogue will keep things from getting out of hand.””

Dynes praised Wednesday’s service for being warm and touching, while addressing sensitive issues. He said the school will accommodate the needs of those in special circumstances who need help or time away.

“”We have to first express our grief and then begin to heal because life goes on,”” Dynes said. “”We have to show compassion and strength.””

Watson has created a committee to discuss how to help students deal with the tragedy. The committee quickly sent a letter to UCSD employees and posted news on the campus Web site. A letter to students was sent soon after, indicating that the fall quarter and move-in would occur on schedule. The letter also stated that religious and psychological counseling were available for students.

UC students participating in an exchange in Washington, D.C. were contacted and confirmed safe.

“”We wish to bring some normalcy to the situation, therefore we’re going to try to make sure we work closely with students,”” Watson said. “”I think we’re all deeply concerned about what has occurred, and have a great deal of sympathy and empathy for those who have been impacted.””

The deans, academic advising and residence life offices at each college will also remain flexible to accommodate the needs of students, Watson said.

Watson described what would be done to ensure the school’s safety.

“”If there was any indication that there’s a credible threat … we definitely would declare a campus emergency,”” Watson said.

In an e-mail message sent Sept. 11, UC President Richard Atkinson expressed his thoughts.

“”I know that all of you are shocked, as I am, by the terrible tragedies that have occurred today in New York and Washington, D.C., and that many of you have friends and family in those regions,”” Atkinson stated. “”The university will remain open. I am asking the chancellors to encourage supervisors and managers to provide maximum flexibility to accommodate the individual needs and circumstances of employees.””

Atkinson also said that each UC chancellor was encouraged to ensure that counseling and psychological support services would be available to all members of the UC community.

Psychological and Counseling Services is available at each of the colleges, and at its central office at Galbraith Hall.

Bruce Meyeer, director of psychological and counseling services, said he thinks all incoming students will be concerned, but his staff is prepared to help those students who are most traumatized.

“”We want students to know that we are available,”” Meyeer said. “”We all have training in dealing with students with traumatic events. Reactions differ greatly from student to student. That might be confusing for students too.

“”Everyone’s reaction is very individual,”” he said.

The Office of Religious Affairs also has ordained clergy members available for counseling from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Its office is located at 502 University Center, next to the UCSD police station.

The UCSD Blink Web site at also has more information. The site will include updated campus status information, details about counseling and emergency support services available, in addition to airline services and instructions for UCSD travelers about new security measures.

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