UCSD students stranded

Many UCSD students are having trouble getting to campus in time for the new academic year because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

Lyon Liew
Guardian

Commercial flight schedules are still unpredictable a week after the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to ground all flights in response to the attacks.

Warren sophomore Alex Simma, who was in Washington, D.C. last week, made it back to campus Sept. 14.

“”I’m still hoping and praying that we will not be stranded,”” Simma said Friday, from BWI Airport in Baltimore.

Before finally returning safely to San Diego, Simma waited over two hours in line to retrieve tickets he bought, unsure of whether he would be able to get home.

Many students will not be as lucky as Simma, but campus departments are prepared for students who will be returning late due to increased air travel security precautions and repeated airport shutdowns.

“”We’re not going to take any adverse actions based on individuals not being here on time,”” said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph Watson. “”I think everybody wants to be understanding and accommodating. This is a time of great emotional stress and we’re working together as a community and a campus to make sure everybody comes through this positively.””

Watson understands that some students may be stranded in other states or other countries, and says that students will not be forced to forfeit their on-campus housing or forced to drop classes due to an unexpectedly late arrival.

He said that professors will most likely take students’ word on the issue.

“”We’re going to make the assumption that people are prevented from getting here,”” Watson said. “”In some cases, documentation may be required.””

Eleanor Roosevelt college is being hit especially hard because many International House residents are coming from other countries.

“”We have students who are still stuck in Asia,”” said Roosevelt Provost Executive Assistant Margaret Manoguerra. “”We expect 15 freshmen to have to have special advising and enrollment. They’ve been trickling in, but we’re getting calls from more students.””

Other UCSD colleges are preparing for students who are stranded as well.

“”We’re figuring out how to do makeup tests for the subject A requirement and makeup orientations,”” said Ann C. Dodd from the Warren college provost’s office.

Kevin Olson, a Revelle junior, was stranded in northern Canada on a family vacation.

“”I have driven over 4,400 kilometers in the past week,”” Olson said.

Approximately 1,600 of those were to get back to his family home in the Bay Area.

“”We had two flights canceled in Vancouver, then we had a flight canceled in Seattle, then one in Portland, so we finally just drove back [to the Bay Area],”” Olson said. “”I may have to take the train from the Bay Area to San Diego.””

It took Olson two hours to get through customs at the U.S.-Canadian border.

“”There was seriously over a mile of cars,”” he said.

Airport security was tight at all three airports.

“”In Vancouver, we couldn’t get within half a mile of the airport,”” Olson said. “”It was pretty much the same in Seattle. In Portland they let us in the airport but canceled our flight.””

While the delays and uncertainty are inconveniences to some UCSD students who will have to catch up with their classes, Simma said he is not angry.

“”I’m understanding,”” said Simma about the delays, which he described as increased vigilance at the baggage scanner and the outright cancellation of flights. “”But it was certainly a big letdown.””

Many expected the air travel situation to improve after the FAA allowed airports to reopen on an individual basis, depending on whether they had met new security guidelines.

However, bomb threats and other disturbances, which are being taken very seriously in the wake of last week’s attacks, have further kept things from returning to normal.

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