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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

Campus community responds to terrorist attacks with reflection, compassion, and study

By Katherine Hedland, '88


Students and faculty participate in a moment of silence on a Friday gathering after the September 11 attacks.

Television screens that usually remain black drew groups of stunned students and staff Sept. 11 as the campus tried to cope with and comprehend the worst act of terrorism in American history.

The administration recognized immediately that though the acts occurred on the other side of the country, students and staff would be greatly affected. The offices of Campus Ministry and Counseling and Testing provided refuge and help for students who were in fear and pain. Student Life and Residential Life reached out to those who needed assistance and helped students contact family members and friends, especially those with connections on the East Coast.

The Office of International Programs immediately made contact with each international student at PLU and every one who is studying abroad to ensure their safety. Three students from the United Arab Emirates chose to return to their home country, while all other students on campus and abroad chose to continue their studies as planned.

On campus, classes-which began just a day before the attacks-took a different tone in many ways, as professors found ways to integrate current events into their curriculum and students grasped for understanding of all that occurred.

In the following days, an ASPLU teach-in drew hundreds to the Chris Knutzen Hall to hear five professors share their thoughts-professionally and personally-to the attacks and America's reaction to it. The Young Democrats and the Advocates for Social Justice sponsored a forum to encourage understanding of Islam.

"This has caused people to pay attention to issues that they haven't even had on their radar screens before," said Ann Kelleher, a political science professor who is an expert in Mideast relations.

Kelleher chose to teach a J-Term course on terrorism for freshmen in the International Core program. She offered the course once years ago, but it wasn't on the schedule until after the recent terrorist attacks. Now the curriculum will include the recent events, as well as terrorism that has struck other countries throughout history.

Kelleher is one of several professors who have been interviewed, spoken at campus or community events or written commentaries in the wake of the Sept. 11 events.

President Loren J. Anderson and Provost Paul Menzel encouraged all faculty and students to open their minds to the views and beliefs of Muslims and those of Mideast descent-in order to foster the understanding on campus that is needed throughout the world in order to achieve peace.



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