share in nation's sorrow
U.Va. students were in class when they learned of the terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon the morning
of Sept. 11. One professor, after making the announcement, offered
his cell phone and credit card to those who needed to call their
loved ones. By lunchtime, TVs throughout Grounds were tuned to
breaking news and surreal footage of planes crashing and the twin
to find ways to respond that seemed helpful, students began organizing
meetings, vigils, blood drives.
began receiving e-mails announcing different events immediately
after the news broke, said Patricia M. Lampkin, interim vice
president for student affairs. To coordinate efforts, students
agreed to meet at her office at 4:30 p.m. Alex Joyner, president
of U.Va.s United Ministry, was instrumental in coordinating
Tuesday nights inter-faith candlelight vigil, Lampkin said.
Organized by Arab, Muslim, Christian and Jewish students, it took
place just three hours after the meeting in my office, and
was attended by some 4,000 members of the University community.
It was the first of many student-coordinated events held this
past week, she noted.
this summer, Lampkins office had developed a crisis response
plan. Though a terrorist attack wasnt one of the anticipated
crises, Lampkin said the plan was fresh in her mind and helped
in handling this situation.
number of students have lost family members and friends, said
Dean of Students
Penny Rue, who noted that the largest percentage of U.Va. students
are from the D.C.-Northern Virginia area, with the second largest
concentration being from New York and New Jersey. I know
of two who have lost a parent, one who worked at the Pentagon,
and the other who was on board the airplane that crashed into
it, she said.
facilitated one of the 10 sessions held throughout Grounds Sept.
12 from 10 a.m. to noon that provided students and faculty with
a common period for reflection and mourning. About 200 students
attended her session in Old Cabell Auditorium. Points
of tension arose from students who want retaliation versus other
students who hope [the country] will take a more thoughtful approach
in reacting to these attacks, Rue said. One young man, who had
worn a sandwich board the day before that read, fight force
with force, spoke, saying he couldnt understand why
others didnt support his view, Rue recalled. He was followed
on stage by another male student, who encouraged him to seek counseling
to cope with his anger.
is important to allow a wide range of responses, Lampkin
said. Everyone deals with things differently, and as long
as we dont judge responses, we learn from each other and
gain strength, she said. I have never witnessed the
true sense of community within the University that I have seen
this past week. I believe we are all realizing that none of us
can get through this alone.
Joyner, a U.Va. Ph.D. student, the most powerful moment
occurred at the conclusion of Tuesday nights inter-faith
vigil. The candles were lit, Amazing Grace had just
been sung, and the crowd of some 4,000 began to disperse when
religious studies professors Vanessa Ochs, who is Jewish, and
Abdulaziz Sachedina, who is Muslim, clasped hands and exchanged
looks of mutual respect, concern and love for one another.
United Methodist minister has also been awed by the
way students he has worked with have moved through the emotions
of this week in a very deep and mature way. It has taught
him not to get lost in the minutiae of administrative details
as he is witnessing the next round of peace vigils being planned
by students in anticipation of what will come, he said.