On Monday, as information surrounding the deadly attacks in Paris and Beirut continued to filter in, the Queens community began formulating a response for both students and faculty.
With International Education Week beginning, University administrators said that they were extremely disturbed by the attacks. But they insisted that their job now was to make sure that all students, faculty and staff felt supported in the wake of the violence.
On Monday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. in Trexler, students observed a moment of silence not only for the attacks in France, but also for those that happened in Beirut.
“It’s absolutely horrible,’’ said Dean John Downey, dean of students at Queens University of Charlotte. “There’s no way to describe what it’s like to lose 129 people who aren’t at war or are not armed. That’s just terrible. And I’m sure that number will rise with 350 people who are still injured –lots of them critically. It couldn’t be any worse. It’s just terrible. Such a tragedy.”
But like others on campus, Dean Downey said that he also warned that it was important that other Muslims, particularly those here at Queens, did not feel a backlash.
“My fear is there will be an overreaction as well on Muslims, certainly in France, so I would be concerned about that,’’ said Dean Downey. “It’s not fair. It’s not just. And it’s not moral to categorize all people in one way. That happened after 9/11.’’
Queens, meanwhile, began piecing together a response for students and faculty alike to address concerns caused by the attacks.
Queens’ International Studies Office said there are no Queens students currently studying in France. There are, however, four students in surrounding countries, including Switzerland and Belgium. All four are safe and accounted for, University officials said.
“I’ve probably gotten 10 emails a day over the last three days about what is happening in France,” said Angie Edwards, the Director of the Center for International Education at Queens.
Prior to departure on international studies programs, students attend a pre-departure orientation that informs them about health and safety logistics. Those orientations will remain the same, Edwards said.
New tools, however, such as safety alerts available through a Queens insurance provider, will be available to ensure students are safe while abroad.
Faculty in the international department said they are feeling positive about this new tool since it has worked so well for them on recent trips.
While the recent attacks are not currently going to affect any JBIP trips, the international office is always monitoring safety in JBIP countries from state departments and travel warnings.
All students studying abroad are registered with the U.S. State Department into the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
“The U.S. State Department will know where they will be in case they need assistance,” said Edwards.
Reported by Ava Alvarez, Charlotte Bian-Lingle, Donterika Brown, Delaney Dabagian, Jamie Doolittle, Thibault Grouhel, Sarah Horton, Annaliese LeMieux-Kaplan, Ian Shackley, Ashley Olive, Rebekah Rivette, and Isaac Walker, and written by Austin Huddy.