Feelings of confusion, anger, fear, and deepest sorrow pervaded campus on Tuesday morning, as news of the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center reached students, faculty and staff.
“I don’t believe it. I have lived my entire life in an America where we aren’t afraid of this kind of thing happening. We have this notion that America is untouchable, and now we are being told, very forcefully, that we are not as strong as we think we are,” said sophomore Renee Byrd.
President Janet Holmgren cancelled the day’s classes and called for a town hall meeting at noon in the student union. The speech drew a large crowd of people who gathered together in the wake of the tragedy, for information about how they could reach loved ones in Manhattan, where they could go to donate blood, to whom they could turn for counseling, and for the unique support and compassion of the Mills community.
“Now, more than ever, we have to accept one another, care for one another, and support one another,” said Holmgren.
The high turnout at the town meeting “was splendid but not surprising,” said Dean of Students Myrt Whitcomb. “It feels like when John Kennedy was shot. We’ll all remember where we were when we first heard about this tragedy. We’re changed forever.”
Following the meeting, many students turned to faculty members for answers. Small clusters of students littered Toyon Meadow, asking faculty for guidance more information about how and why the attacks occurred. History professor Andy Workman, ethnic studies professors Deborah Berman-Santana and Julia Sudbury, sociology professor Dan Ryan, and public policy professor Emery Roe, among others, offered to lead discussions about the disaster for students.
The Office of Student Life had counselors in the residence halls all morning, talking to students and providing what insight and help they could. More counselors took up residence during the day in the Chapel, which was open all day for counseling, meditation, and prayer.
“People want comfort and reassurance; they also want to know how to respond,” said psychology professor Dean Morier.
The athletic department offered to drive students, faculty and staff from Haas Pavilion to Red Cross blood donor sites in Oakland on Wednesday, as blood in New York and Washington hospitals was scarce.
“It’s a time to be gentle to ourselves and each other,” said Whitcomb. “We’re trying to think of the needs of the students.”
Students spent their day off classes crowding the recreation rooms in the residence halls, watching the news and seeking information and support from friends. The student union, tea shop, and Stern 100 also broadcast news throughout the day. Students worried about family and friends in New York and Washington tried to comprehend the magnitude of the crisis.
“I think it is important we come together as a community,” said ASMC president Marcia Randall. “I remember the day that Kennendy died. This is going to rank right up there.”
“Here, everyone’s emotions are running high right now until we know who’s hurt, who’s dead, and there’s an incredible amount of concern,” said junior Jessica Karantz. “We don’t know what will happen next.”
“At this stage, the main trauma is not knowing how to feel about it,” said sociology professor Dan Ryan. “There’s an actual traumatic feeling of not knowing how to feel…and it’s terrifying.”
“Nationally, we are all feeling it at the same time, this collective confusion,” said Ryan.
Many students expressed disillusionment with national leaders and wondered about the national response to the crisis, including how our civil liberties will be affected
“The people running this country I have absolutely no faith in,” said sophomore Lindsay Cooper. “I have no idea what our country is going to do with this. To me that is the scariest part.”
“These things have been warned about because of the interconnectness of the world”
“Strenght and unity of this country is strongest thing in the world.”
“We’ve created a lot of hate the world.”
* 8:45 am eastern time N. Tower plane dives into the building, American Airlines 11
* 8:53 am eastern time S. Tower plane dives into the building
* 10:05 am eastern time N. Tower collapse
* 10:28 am eastern time S. Tower collapse
* 50,000 people work in each building every day
* 80 miles out of Pittsburgh, PA United flight 93 Newark to SF crashed
* SF city hall closed and evacuated
* SF schools closed
* SF City College closed, both day and evening classes
* FAA grounds all flights, flights currently in the air diverted to Canada
* heightened state of alert
* Oakland started the emergency system
* State been put on high alert
* State building in Sacramento all shut down, Emergency committee met this morning
* Federal building
* Nicole Sowya: Unified school district is asking parents who can to come pick up their children, most people in down town are being asked to go home
* Pacific Stock Exchange has closed
* hijacked on take off , American Airlines 11 bound to LA
* State Capitol remains open, but the buildings remain evacuated
* Neil Cowen, reports from NY hospitals that injured people were
* Stanly Misis, New York, lives 10 blocks away from the trade center, ” Loud explosion occurred followed by a very rapidly by a sensation of heat.” ” The mind just doesn’t except something like that” “the second one way just as terrific” “when the north tower fell there was a smoke ball, it looked like an avalanche.” “People pouring out of it covered just like they he been sprayed with thick smoke.” “some sort of relative calm right now”
* United 93 Pittsburgh Dallas to SF, 175 Boston to la 65 people on board, American air lines to la two planes hit the trade centers, Washington to La was the other AA plane
* SFO is working from the assumption that there are bombs
* 1800.932.8555 number to call if you think that you have family on the plane that went down in Pittsburgh
* All federal buildings closed ” My buildings are well secured and well protected” Willie Brown. all sporting events are closed, SF opera is closed and there are not any pedestrians on the golden gate bridge
* Mary Anne Achers “FAA has issued a ground stop” never in the us history has the FAA done this. 22 international flights will be allowed to end in the us. Transatlantic flights are being diverted to Canada. AA and united both confermend that they have each lost two planes. “at this time the FAA are saying very little” “FAA has shut down all airports in new York and in Washington”
Emergency Plan at Mills???
Amy Backas-“I was the first person up in my dorm. I went and knocked on everyone’s door.”
Monica Hayes Sophmore: “The bell is a reminder to keep my feet on the ground.”
Leyna: “It is very important that Mills students are kind to each other today.”
Katja Geldhof: “Life changed after the Oklahoma City bombing and it will change after this.”
Dean Morier: “People want comfort and reassurance; they also want to know how to respond.”
“It is hard to know how to respond when you are outraged. People look to others for clues on how to act.”
Megan Tusler: “It is OK to smoke in Adams-this is a crisis.”
Renee Byrd, sophomore: “I don’t believe it. I have lived entire life in an America where we aren’t afraid of this kind of thing happening. We have this notion that America is untouchable – we are not as strong as we think we are.”
Katrina Reichert, sophomore: “When you hear, first thing in the morning, ‘We’re on the brink of World War III,’ it’s not very real – it’s like watching a movie or something. To see the college students in New York fleeing their buildings – that’s when it hit me.”
Thuy Tran, junior (also RA): “I am very concerned about how people feel – I am shocked that people can do this kind of thing. I am concerned for my residents, I want them to feel safe.”
Jessica Karnatz, junior: Dan Ryan, Sociology: “At this stage, the main trauma is not knowing how to feel about it. Should I feel anger or should I be afraid? There’s an actual traumatic feeling of not knowing how to feel – there are no feeling rules for something like this -and its terrifying.”
“Not knowing how to feel is itself an emotion.”
“Nationally, we are all feeling it at the same time, this collective confusion.”
“Here, in the Plaza, there are random knots of people just milling about, not sure how to feel. In times like this, we go out in public and mill around.”
Ajun Mance, Ethnic Studies: “We’re all back safely from South Africa. The United State’s failure to actively participate in Palestinian affairs could be provocative [in this situation]. I’m from Long Island, so I’m sad to see New York. It is imperative for Americans to be more aware of the world. Americans have to take an active interest in foreign policy, as we’re the most influential country – our disinterest as citizens in foreign affairs is disproportionate to our power. It’s shocking.”
Marica Randell “I think it is important we come together has a community.”
“I remember the day that Kennendy died. This is going to rank right up there.”
Lindsay Cooper, sophomore: “The people running this country I have absolutely no faith in. I have no idea what our country is going to do with this. To me that is the scariest part.”
Marica Randell, senior: “The most important thing we are going to lose from this is our civil liberities.”
Jessica Karnatz, junior: “I am concerned for people, but I feel that this was a long time coming. I don’t think it is that shocking.”
On classes being cancelled:
Dean Morier: “I wouldn’t have known exactly how to teach. It would have been hard to talk about the self when you are worried about so much else.”
President Jan: “I decided to cancel classes because we are sufficiently distracted as a community and we need to focus on the issues of the day.”
Henry Renteria, Director of the office of emergency services: “We shut down city hall to the public” “both the federal and state buildings have been closed and evacuated”
“all schools are to remain open” “all county buildings are open except the government buildings downtown” “people are being advised to stay away from the down town area, by staying in the office, at home, and stay tuned to the news”
Myrt Whitcomb: “[The turnout] was splendid but not surprising. It feels like when John Kennedy was shot. We’ll all remember where we were when we first heard about this tragedy. We’re changed forever.”