AMERICA IN CRISIS The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 12, 2001- 3
15,000 attend vigil on Diag
in memory of those killed
From staff reports
Candlelight filled the area stretching from
the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library to the
Diag flagpole and from Angell Hall to West
Hall last night as an estimated 15,000 mem-
bers of the University community came
together to promote peace and unity at an
impromptu vigil honoring the victims of yes-
"It was the best behaved 15,000 I've ever
seen," Department of Public Safety spokes-
woman Diane Brown said. "By far this was
the largest turnout (the University has) ever
Together, students expressed their mixed
feelings of shock, anger and grief.
"I'm still a little bit shocked. I'm pretty
upset. I think it's unbelievable that something
would happen like this and that it happened to
this country," said Engineering freshman Paul
Gibson, a Washington resident who attended
the vigil. "It's going to take a long time for
people to heal. Until now, people thought of
this as a safe haven where nothing could hap-
pen, and that's changed."
For Gibson, the attack on the Pentagon and
the World Trade Center was personal.
"My dad works at the Pentagon," he said.
"I just went back to my room and tried to
contact him. I just sat by my phone and wait-
ed." Gibson said his attempts were eventually
The scene last night on the Diag might be
unparalleled in University history, but the
morning started out as usual for most stu-
"It was just a normal day and then this hap-
pened, and it was like, whoa," said Loren
Booker, an LSA freshman from Chicago.
She said she started her day by attending
classes, but the normalcy didn't last long. "I
was coming back from class and this girl was
crying so I asked her what happened and she
said she couldn't get ahold of her father in
Booker is not alone in her story.
Passing through campus yesterday, one
may not have noticed that anything was dif-
ferent. But after walking down the streets and
peering into windows, it became quickly evi-
dent that the tragedies in New York City and
Washington had affected everyone across
A bomb scare at the LSA building was the
most chilling local example of this nation-
Brown said a threat was called in against
the building yesterday at about noon.
Ann Arbor Police Chief Daniel Oates later
See CAMPUS, Page 10
By Jacquelyn Nixon
' Daiy Staff Reporter
About 15,000 people filled the Diag last night to mourn the victims of yesterday's terrorist attacks on
Washington, D.C. and New York City.
NY. students await
word from amilies
From staff reports
The number of University students with ties to
New York and Washington was particularly evi-
dent yesterday as many apprehensively anticipated
news of friends and relatives.
"I'm still waiting to hear from my best friend.
She goes to school at NYC Lincoln Center," said
LSA sophomore Molly Spooner, a New York resi-
dent. "I'm calling her dorm room, her cell phone."
The worry was not reserved solely for those
from the attacked cities.
"My sister works for the government in D.C. I
e-mailed her a little bit ago, I don't know if she is
at home or not, I'm trying to call her," said LSA
junior Kasey Boike. "This is completely unbeliev-
able, I'm in shock. ... I can't even imagine, I can't
Overtaxed telephone lines in both cities forced
most students to wait until friends and relatives
"One of my mom's friends works in the Penta-
gon. I'm very concerned right now, he goes there
everyday," said Todd Moulton, an LSA junior. "I
tried to call my mom to get his number but all the
phones lines out there are busy. Hopefully he is at
a different agency today."
Those who did get in touch with family mem-
bers were quick to get first-hand accounts of the
events swarming television and radio stations.
,"My grandpa works right in midtown and the
streets are all closed, the tunnels are all closed, so
he has to sleep in his office tonight," said LSA
freshman Amanda Plisner. "It's crazy right now."
Witnesses of the carnage in New York told of
"The streets were packed with people," said
George Oka, a junior at New York University, in a
phone interview yesterday. "There aren't any cars
going through the streets right now because every-
one is on the streets. They are just frantic, they
want to know what's going on.
"I started to walk to the Washington Square
Park where there is an incredible view, or there
was, of the World Trade Center," Oka said. "There
was nothing but smoke. You just saw people cry-
ing in tears because of all the people that had
As the news of the attacks spread across cam-
pus, many students reacted with shock and panic.
"It sickens me," said LSA freshman Richard
Lo, who is from New York. "All my friends live
in New York City, they go to school there. I feel
sick to my stomach. I can't get in contact with
any of them. I don't know what to say or how to
react. I'm worried about my friends and family.
I just feel like I'm left in the dark despite news
Many students appeared to still be in disbelief
"Just from the pictures, it's like out of a movie, I
really don't believe it," said LSA senior Clint
Mansour. "It's going to take a while to recover
LSA junior Kara Guminski, LSA sophomore Becky Gian and LSA senior Ann Scharnhorst comfort each
other after seeing news of the bombing on television yesterday morning.
Arab students worry as nation seeks culprits
For Ann Arbor Police Department
Chief Daniel Oates, yesterday's terror-
ist attack hit close to home. Oates, for-
mer head of the Intelligence division
of the New York Police Department,
said he knew many of the officers who
responded to the World Trade Center
attack - some of whom were killed
when the towers collapsed.
"I lost a lot of friends," he said.
Oates, who was the NYPD's liaison
to the federal government just a few
weeks ago, said in a press conference
yesterday that NYPD officials are pre-
pared and equipped to handle acts of
"We thought these were projects on
paper that we would never have to
implement, he said.
In Ann Arbor, 25 extra police offi-
cers were placed on patrol at various
locations in the city.
"We've had a lot of contact from the
Islamic and Jewish community," Oates
said, adding that the 'AAPD tried to
identify critical infrastructure that
could have been in danger.
"There are certain sensitive and vul-
nerable buildings in the city," he said.
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said
federal building and post office
employees expressed concern for their
safety when leaving on their lunch
Officials evacuated the city's federal
building around noon. Closings of
other federal buildings and Ann Arbor
courthouses followed shortly after.
Oates said no credible threats influ-
enced the closings.
"People were uncomfortable coming
back," Hieftje said.
Oates agreed with Hieftje's closing
of city buildings, and said since the
AAPD was pressed for officers, the
decision was a positive one.
Oates said there was no unusual 911
activity. "That's a good sign that peo-
ple are calm and reassured," he said.
H-ieftje said there is no local threat
in this crisis and city officials hope to
have all offices back in operation
By Elizabeth Kassab
Daily Staff Reporter
Arab-American and Muslim students
received a number of threatening e-mails fol-
lowing yesterday's terrorist attacks.
Several student organizations sent e-mails to
their members urging them to be cautious.
The Arab Student Association and the
American-Arab Anti-Defamation Committee
told students to take advantage of Safewalk
and Northwalk services if they felt threatened.
Some Arab-American students received one
e-mailed death threat signed from "a Christian
American," group members said.
Other anonymous e-mails warned "'your life
will be a living hell,"' and "'this is war,'" said
LSA junior Brenda Abdelall, the external rela-
tions chair of the ASA.
''The underlying connotation was 'beware,"'
Someone also painted the crude statement
"bin Laden must die" on the Rock at the corner
of Hill and Washtenaw.
Former ADC president Norah Rabiah said
the groups told their members to be careful
only as a precaution, and no specific action has
been taken against students.
"It's just things we've heard from people on
campus, which is very disappointing," she
ASA President Asad Tarsin said student
groups have been working with University offi-
cials to express their concerns of possible hate
crimes and the University has been responsive.
The campus community should be con-
cerned with working together to "begin the
healing process," not pointing fingers, Tarsin
"Our student community here and now had
nothing to do with this,' he said.
But some students chose to go to their fami-
ly homes because they felt uncomfortable on
campus, Abdelall said.
"The atmosphere just isn't very positive
right now," Abdelall said.
Abdelall noted that not only are Arab stu-
dents the target of assumptions that people of
their religion or ethnicity perpetrated the
attacks, but they must also cope with the fact
that a significant number of them have family
and friends in New York and Washington,
where the attacks occurred
"It's like we're getting the double effect of
it," Abdelall said. "It's too much to deal with
History Prof. Juan Cole cautioned against
placing blame without proof. He noted some
national news figures prematurely placed sus-
picion on Middle Eastern terrorists after
domestic terrorists bombed the Alfred P. Mur-
rahFederal Building in Oklahoma City in
But he also noted that the World Trade Cen-
ter bombing in 1993 was linked to factions of
suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden.
"It is not strange that speculation should
center around a similar ideological group,"
Cole said. "We are still unsure who is behind
Law Prof. Robert Precht said assuming the
guilt of specific groups and condemning all.
members is "premature and un-American."
"I hope that as an enlightened community
we should preserve, especially in this type of
crisis, democratic values by not assuming guilt
by association and not pointing fingers at our
neighbors," Precht said.
"It's totally inappropriate," he added. "The
vast majority of Arab-Americans are as heart-
sick by what they're seeing as the rest of us."
The ADC's national organization issued an
official statement condemning the violence, and
Abdelall said the ASA also opposed violence.
"The vast majority of Arabs deeply disap-
prove of violence against civilians," Cole said.
"The Arab world can't be equated with
approval of this sort of thing."
Americans, not used
to terror, face reality
By Jeremy W. Peters
and Maria Sprow
Daily Staff Reporters
Americans were caught off guard as they saw
the first gaping, inflamed crater in the side of the
World Trade Center. Television cameras did not
record what caused this first catastrophe but
caught only the aftermath. Few at this time knew
America was in the midst of a cascading terrorist
As viewers tuned in trying to figure out exactly
what had happened and television correspondents
mulled over the possibility that this was simply a
horrible accident, the second plane hit, erasing
any doubt as to the true nature of the calamity.
'Mn ..- nr. tht a th +nlan P hnd careenedi
unthinkable to most, as was the first siege on the
World Trade Center in 1993 that claimed the
lives of 6 people. Invulnerability has been central
to the American mindset for nearly a century, a
fact that helps to explain the "how could this hap-
pen here" sentiment echoed when any terrorist
"Historically, the reason why we have felt so
invulnerable is because of the oceans ... the idea
that someone would have to come so far" has
given us a false sense of security, said history.
Prof. Jonathan Marwil.
"Despite the power of our military, despite the
distance of our so-called enemies, it doesn't take
very much to reach us at all."
Yesterday's events have already far surpassed
Oklahoma City as the most horrific act of terror-
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