Regular class schedule resumes today; Masses planned to remember victims of terrorist attacks
Regular class schedules resume at the University of St. Thomas today. Classes were canceled Tuesday afternoon and evening in response to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
A series of prayer services, vigils for peace and other activities were held yesterday and will continue today and Thursday (see list below), and university staff members will be available to counsel students, faculty and staff.
Two Masses are scheduled today and tomorrow. They will be held at:
• 12:30 p.m. Wednesday – in the atrium of Terrence Murphy Hall on the Minneapolis campus.
• 11:30 a.m. Thursday – Mass to open the academic year and to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks, lower quadrangle of the St. Paul campus.
A gathering will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. today in the atrium of Terrence Murphy Hall, to provide an opportunity for members of the St. Thomas community to reflect on the events of the past day, to share in the university’s response to the tragedy, and to talk with other members of the community. All are welcome to attend.
The decision to cancel all late-afternoon and evening classes yesterday came after the 10:30 a.m. closing of the Minneapolis campus, said Dr. Judith Dwyer, executive vice president. Classes were held into the afternoon in St. Paul to give students an opportunity to discuss the situation with their professors. But as the day moved on, she said, it was important for as many students, faculty and staff as possible to be with family members and friends at such an important time.
The Rev. Dennis Dease, president, released a statement yesterday that addressed what he called "a day of great sadness for the United States." In the statement, he said:
"It is a time for all members of the St. Thomas community to come together in prayer for our community, for all who have lost lives in these tragedies, and for their families and loved ones. Our national heart has indeed been broken today.
"I ask each one of you to keep our country in your prayers. Let us continue to show one another mutual respect and love at this time of tragedy. No matter who turns out to be responsible, we must not transfer blame to innocent fellow students or co-workers.
"The mission of St. Thomas calls for us to live together in peace and respect for the dignity of each person. I call upon each one of us to continue to foster this mission."
Community members who want to discuss the issues are encouraged to seek out staff members in the Personal Counseling, Campus Ministry, International Student Services and Multicultural Student Services offices. Those offices are located in Murray-Herrick Campus Center on the St. Paul campus.
Employees also can call LifeBalance, a St. Thomas employee support service provided by Unum Inc., at 1 (800) 854-1446.
Dr. Sarah Stevenson, director of international education, said her staff is contacting St. Thomas students who already are studying abroad or are preparing to leave to study abroad, as well as those students’ family members. About 140 undergraduate students will study abroad this fall. It is too early to determine if any of these students should return to the United States or not leave the country, she said.
People are encouraged to contact the American Red Cross about giving blood because the tragedies are expected to deplete the nation’s blood supplies. Call 1 (800) GIVELIFE for more information.
The Red Cross office in St. Paul is looking for volunteers to field telephone calls for individuals trying to locate family members in the New York and Washington areas. Call (651) 291-6707.