July 18, 2005
Study abroad students safe after London bombings
BY Michael terrazas
When the Emory community awoke the morning of Thursday, July 7, to learn of the bombings in London, staff working with the University’s study-abroad programs began immediately to determine that all students, faculty and staff in residence in London were safe.
That process did not take long: At 9:51 a.m., an e-mail from the Center for International Programs Abroad (CIPA) informed parents and emergency contacts that all of 61 students in London on that day as part of psychology and sociology summer programs were present, accounted for—and safe (see First Person). Additionally, 39 students at Oxford University as part of a British studies program were safe, as were some 14 Emory faculty and graduate students in Britain working with all three programs. The CIPA e-mail seemed to head off worried inquiries from parents.
“I’ve received a few,” said Gail Scheu, CIPA study-abroad coordinator. “But sending that e-mail to all the parents might have answered their questions.”
Two of the three summer programs in Britain are still ongoing, though the sociology program is due to wrap up this weekend (July 23). Nineteen students, one professor and one graduate student currently are enrolled in that program; the Oxford program involves 39 students, seven faculty and one graduate assistant.
Students in the psychology program began returning stateside the day after the bombings, July 8, and for some even that was not too soon; the bomb that destroyed a bus was detonated just outside the psychology building at University College London, and Scheu said two students witnessed the explosion. Two psychology faculty—Marshall Duke and Steve Nowicki—were riding the London Underground at the time of the explosions, a few trains behind one that was attacked. One student also was riding the subway, but all three individuals were evacuated without incident.
“The three graduate students in the psychology program—Ginger Wickline, Elizabeth Lewis and Janice Hassett—were wonderful,” Scheu said. “They really kept their heads and immediately began taking roll and accounting for all the undergraduates.”
Vice Provost for International Affairs Holli Semetko said, other than the students and faculty accounted for by CIPA, she has not heard of other Emory individuals directly affected by the London blasts. She said one project that has been identified as a goal by the Task Force on Internationalization—chaired by former Goizueta Business School dean Tom Robertson as part of the strategic planning process—is to create a central registration system whereby University faculty conducting research abroad could log their travel itineraries.
But at least one parent was grateful for Emory’s current efforts. Barbara Wilson, mother of junior Beth Wilson, was one of the people CIPA’s e-mail reached informing them that their children were safe.
“I was very impressed with the clarity and consistency of the information the University provided,” Barbara Wilson wrote in an e-mail response. “I called the campus police first, because the switchboard was busy. They gave good information, assured me the students were accounted for, and directed me to [CIPA]. Your office was polite, helpful and gave good information.”