College Responds To National Tragedy
(October 2001 issue, Communique)
The devastating attack on September 11, 2001 stunned the nation and the world. Even Worcester and Worcester State were not spared from the despicable actions of the terrorists. The doomed flights out of Boston bore several of our local Central Massachusetts citizens, including one of our own alumni, Robin L. Kaplan, Class of 1990. Robin was a senior store equipment specialist for TJX. At WSC, she was a psychology major and is remembered fondly by her professors and classmates. In addition, one of our graduate student’s wife, Tara (Shea) Creamer, was also a victim and part of the TJX group. John Creamer’s mother, Julie Creamer, has long been a supporter of our education program, taking many of our student teachers into her third grade classroom at Midland Street School. We offer the Kaplans, Sheas and Creamers our deepest sympathy.
As part of this national tragedy, Worcester State College responded to the crisis on Tuesday, September 11 in the following ways:
*On September 11, the two multi-media auditoriums, through a satellite feed, were open to all those who wished to follow the news of the tragedy. The Student Center televisions were made available for anyone who wanted to follow the news. Heightened security was placed on the Residence Halls and the campus grounds. Certified counselors were available on the campus to all those who were struggling with the news.
*On September 12, Campus Ministry and the President’s Office organized a special prayer service to help the college community deal with the impact of the tragedy. In addition to the prayer service there was a response from the international community. The service was well attended. Afterwards, counselors and ministers were available to individuals or classrooms for counseling. Through web manager David St. Martin, the www.worcester.edu website provided links for information and how to provide aid through the Red Cross, United Way, etc. President Ghosh also provided a message on the home page.
*On September 13, students in John DiPietro’s Communication class participated in a fund-raiser sponsored by WTAG/WSRS Radio in a “Support New York” Drive at Elm Park. The President’s Office sent out a campus wide call for donations of money to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. At last count, $2, 210 was raised. Our deepest thanks to all those who donated.
*The Resident Assistants in the residence halls organized a food drive to assist the Worcester County Food Bank in their work for the search/rescue/recovery effort in New York. Donations were bottled water, protein and granola bars, and other nonperishable items. Campus Ministry, Campus Ambassadors and the Sophomore Class sponsored a prayer service and discussion on the recent events. After the service a candlelight vigil was held.
*The Telegram & Gazette newspaper sat in on Dr. Joseph Baratta’s International Relations class and reported on student reaction. Dr. Baratta also participated as an expert on two local talk shows. WROC Radio and WTAG Radio, regarding the terrorist attack and its implications on U.S. policy.
*On September 14, Campus Police began efforts to form a “Crisis Response Team” to update existing policy on disasters and create a cadre of volunteers to respond in times of crisis. This Task Force has met and is devising a plan which will be recommended to the President.
*On September 18, the International Student Union organized a Bake Sale to raise funds for the Disaster Relief Fund. At this writing, more than $550 was raised.
*On September 17, Vice President Spitzer sent a campus wide email on the need for tolerance of diverse backgrounds, cultures and religions.
*On September 18, several faculty members participated in a peace rally at Lincoln Square calling acquisition of wisdom not war, and healing over hatred.
*On September 25, the Worcester State College Center for Teaching and Learning held a roundtable discussion to focus on sharing strategies that encourage tolerance through dialogue and historical analysis. This discuss was covered by the Telegram & Gazette.
*The Newman Association held a very successful blood drive with the American Red Cross.
*Tolerance and the American response to the crisis will be the subject of the Faculty forum on Liberal Learning.