What Happened Outside of the Classroom?

On a brisk Saturday morning, students made their way to local transit to embark on a journey to New York City, NY, to visit the World Trade Center and Ground Zero.

On Oct. 28, students, many of which were criminal justice and homeland security students, commemorated the loss of lives during a tragedy and enriched their own education in the process.

The Department of Criminal Justice and the Guardian’s Club hosted their NYC Terrorism Tour to provide students with an opportunity to experience life outside the classroom while still learning the valuable lessons that simply cannot be taught.

The group was led by Dr. John Comiskey, an assistant professor of homeland security and a 9/11 first responder, guided the tour of Ground Zero of the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center bombings.

The group of about 12 students and a handful of faculty including professors from the Department of Criminal Justice and the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences visited the World Trade Center Observatory and museum.

Following that, there was a walking tour from the museum to 23 Wall Street, the site of the 1920 terrorist bombing that resulted in the deaths of 38 people; they also saw Fraunces Tavern, where the 1975 terrorist bombing occurred that resulted in the deaths of four people.

Conor Scott, a senior homeland security student and President of the Order of the Sword and Shield National Honors Society MU Chapter, joined the trip as a general member of the Guardians club. “I think it impacted my learning by changing my perspective. I, for one, have never been to Ground Zero, so getting to be there in person helped to change my views of the area as something I’ve only seen on T.V. or in the classroom to something more tangible. It changed the subject matter of the classroom into something a little more real world,” he said.

In planning the trip, Scott said, “We spent a great deal of time individually researching different parts of the trip, as well as scheduling meetings so that we could bring our information together.”

Jamie Tilton, a senior homeland security student and President of the Guardians club, said, “For homeland security majors, our perspectives haven’t changed. Almost, if not all of our classes discuss 9/11, we have studied every detail. We want to be the crazy ones running into the chaos, not running away from it. However, with other students from different majors, this may change their perspective.”

John Comiskey EdD, assistant professor of homeland security and the spearheader of this trip, said, “I’m glad the Oct. 31 attack didn’t happen while we were there, but, I think the students got a lot out of going to the Trade Center, as well as 23 Wall Street, and Fraunces Tavern. It’s nice to see the students having a genuine interest in it and it’s nice for me to return back there since I’ve spent a lot of time there.”

Looking toward the future, Tilton said, “We have another trip with the Department of Criminal Justice to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary. However, in the future, we are talking about having trips every semester and opening it up to all students–we would like to work together with other majors and clubs…getting events and trips to all students and faculty will be our main goal.”