- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 18 November 2015
- Written by DANIELLE SCHIPANI | NEWS EDITOR
A total of 132 people were killed and 352 people were injured in Paris, France during a series of coordinated terrorist attacks that took place in eight locations throughout the city on Nov. 13th. The Islamic State (ISIS) later took responsibility for the attacks.
Locations included three stadiums, four restaurants, and the Bataclan, a music hall where 89 of the total victims were killed. These attacks included both suicide bombs and shootings.
There were six Monmouth University students in Paris during the time of the attacks. All the students are accounted for. The students spent part of the day at the Louvre Museum but were back at their hotel, Ibis, at the time of the attacks, which is within an estimated 2-5 miles of one of the attack locations.
These students were studying abroad at Regent’s University in London and were on an organized trip to Paris for the weekend. Students returned to Regent’s University campus on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. eastern time.
The students stayed in their hotel for the remainder of their trip as it was deemed the safest option at the time. Robyn Asaro, assistant director of study abroad and Dr. Rekha Datta, Interim Vice President for Global Education connected with these six students via FaceTime on Saturday Nov. 14. The students assured them of their safety.
“It was good seeing you Robyn. We are all alright and I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on where we are and what we are doing. And I can speak for everyone - we really appreciate your concern and being there because even aside from the current situation no one else studying abroad has a program nearly as wonderful as ours or as helpful and caring. So, we all want to thank you for being there for us and setting us up and preparing us from the beginning,” said Michael Matt, junior finance and economics student in a text to Asaro after talking with her via FaceTime.
The offices of Study Abroad, Global Education, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement Mary Anne Nagy, Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD), and senior University leadership worked together to certify the safety of the study abroad students who were in Paris on Friday. There are currently 35 students who are attending Regent’s University in London this semester.
“We have had continuous communication with our students, their parents, and our partner institution. We will continue the efforts throughout the coming days and weeks,” said Dr. Christopher Hirschler, faculty director of study abroad.
Matt discussed his experience while in Paris during the attacks. “It was pretty surreal, I first heard about the 40 or so people allegedly shot and put on BBC and then it just escalated from there, it was very chaotic with the news reports coming in from all around the city,” said Matt. “I could hear the sirens racing around from my window all throughout the night.” Matt explained that he was relieved when he woke up the next morning and saw that there were no new attacks.
Matt also described how the feeling compared to that of the 9/11 attacks, noting that there was much confusion throughout the city and that they didn’t know where the next attack would take place. “For the most part I was just concerned more so for the people I was with from other study abroad programs and our own and I kept in contact with Robyn throughout the night, so it was kind of a blessing in disguise because it kept me from really thinking about what was going on and just making sure we were all accounted for and okay,” he said.
Another Monmouth University student who was in Paris during the time of the attacks and wished to remain anonymous described their experience. “The city is beautiful we were so excited to explore around. Later that night we went to the Louvre by the metro and we found out my friend got pickpoceted, so we were already hesitant. We got back to the hotel around 9:30 about 20 minutes later the first news article was posted on Facebook and my friend read it as we sat in the hotel’s bar. Ten minutes later I got five text messages in a row from my best friend followed by the breaking news and urgent messages from my Mom. The rest of the night was spent in the hotel rooms watching the news and watching as the number of deaths/ injuries grew larger and larger.”
This anonymous source explained how they were comforted by the amount of people who reached out to ensure their safety. This made it easier to get through the stressful weekend. The source also described their future traveling plans, “There’s an underlying anxiety that i know a few of us are experiencing, but that will go away. I just want to have the utmost trust in the police, military and government that they are doing their very best to keep us safe. We might be traveling once more before we go back to the states, but other than that I plan to stay in London.”
The Monmouth University website released a statement about the attacks on Friday, “The Monmouth University community is shocked and saddened by the violence that claimed the lives of so many in Paris today. We know these events raise concern for the safety of all of our students studying outside of the U.S. We have confirmed that the Monmouth University students currently visiting Paris as part of a study abroad experience are safe and accounted for and we are in contact with our partners at Regent’s University in London who organized the trip to Paris for our students.”
One of the victims was an American student, Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, of El a junior attending California State University, Long Beach who was studying design in Paris for a semester.
“It is deeply, deeply saddening. Families and communities have been devastated by these senseless acts of violence and I mourn with them and the rest of the world. I try to find strength and comfort in a deeper commitment to tolerance, love, and mutual respect for all humanity,” said Hirschler.
IMAGE TAKEN from thetimes.co.uk.