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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

National Tragedy Impacts Campus

The horrific events of September 11, 2001 had a swift and dramatic impact on the UMass Boston community. At 11:15am, just hours after tragic events unfolded in New York City and Washington D.C., all classes were cancelled. By noontime, UMB’s roadways resembled Route 1 after a Patriots football game, except with more somber air, as the University parking lots emptied. At 2:00pm the campus was virtually empty, the only sign of life was the sound of the pile driver as it eerily pounded away at the Campus Center construction.

A number of events that were scheduled for the following day, including UMass Boston’s 37th annual Convocation, were cancelled or postponed. Other events put on hold include: the Induction Ceremony for Alpha Lambda Delta, the freshman honor society; an appearance by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, sponsored by the College of Management, and a cookout organized by the Graduate Student Assembly. At press time none of these events had been rescheduled.

Dean of Students Stephanie Janey was busy Wednesday organizing programs on campus to help members of the community deal with the tragedy. An “Interfaith Memorial Service for the Victims and Families of the September 11, 2001 National Tragedy” was held in the Ryan Lounge Wednesday afternoon. The service drew a large crowd from throughout the university community.

“This is a good time for us to come together and recognize the sadness so many members of our community are feeling and grappling with,” Chancellor Jo Ann Gora stated. Student Senate President Heather Dawood reminded the group, “This tragedy began in Boston and the recovery for us is beginning here at UMass Boston.”

Various campus resources have been made available for students to talk about and share feelings related to the tragedy. The Counseling Center (Administration Building, room 2-029), the Campus Ministry (McCormack, third floor, Ryan Lounge), and the Health Promotions Office (McCormack 1-613) will be available to students who seek counseling services.

Joel Grossman, coordinator of Health Services, explained, “The first thing is to honor and respect whatever reaction your having. Some go numb, some are angry, some are sad and some deny. However it comes up for you, respect it. The next thing is when you feel ready, brainstorm some ways that would make you feel better about the trouble we’ve been through.”The Health Service Office, as well as the Counseling Center and the Campus Ministry will be available to help all members of the university community with this process, added Grossman.

A teach-in, “The Terrorist Attack: A Forum and Dialog for the UMass Boston Community—Students, Faculty and Staff” is being planned for Thursday, from 2:30 to 4:00pm in the Ryan Lounge.

“The university should educate people on how to manage their rage, concerns, and the backlash,” said Kristina Carrara, a UMB student. “I would suggest that people don’t turn blame on anyone. We’re now seeing the human side of the tragedy and the most important thing to do is to pray.”

Plans are being formulated for a Red Cross Blood Drive on campus. Those wishing to get immediate information about donating blood at a local site, can call 1-800 GIVE LIFE (1-800-4483-5433).

The decision to close the University followed a decision by Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift to release all non-essential state employees. According to Annemarie Kerwin-Lewis, a spokesperson for the UMB administration, “We contacted the Governor’s office to see what they were urging regarding state buildings. We wanted to follow exactly what the Governor’s office was urging. At 10:40am the Chancellor and the executive staff made the decision to close the school when classes ended at 11:15am.”

Asked if there have been any incidents on campus related to the tragedy, Chief of Public Safety David Cella said, “Knock on wood, nothing’s happened. We did add some extra people yesterday [Tuesday] to help get people off campus. There was a little back-up on Morrissey Boulevard.” Cella explained that the University is not at this point taking any extra precautions. “We haven’t gotten any threats.” He did add that the UMass Public Safety Department is part of the Logan Disaster Plan should their assistance be needed at the airport.

Noticeably absent from the sky above UMB was the constant presence of airplanes. The university lays directly beneath the flight path of airplanes coming in and out of Logan Airport and their presence overhead has become routine. The lack of their presence on Tuesday and Wednesday only served to emphasize the gravity of events.