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MIT holds gathering following attacks in NewYork and DC

MIT held a gathering at 5 p.m. Tuesday for "reflection, prayer and support" following tragic air attacks on several United States sites.

President Charles M. Vest said Tuesday, "We have been witness to a series of events of unprecedented tragedy and horror in this nation's history. Every one of us has been affected in many ways. Even as we pray for and meditate about the many victims of these unspeakable acts, we must also care for each other and assist each others' families and friends through this troubled time.

"I want to thank all those who serve the needs of our MIT community and salute those who must deal directly with the death, injury and pain of those in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Again, my prayers are with all who are touched by this tragedy, and I am confident that we will be able to sustain each other through this heart-wrenching time."

Vest was out of the country and was unable to return to MIT yesterday due to the closure of airports.

In a letter widely distributed electronically on Tuesday afternoon, Chancellor Phillip Clay said:

To all members of the MIT community:

The attacks this morning on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have shocked and brought grief to us all. Many of us in the MIT community have loved ones there, and all of us have been touched by these catastrophic events. We need to come together to support each other and cope with this tragedy.

As we do so, it is important that we not make assumptions about who might be responsible for this morning's events, and that we continue to respect all members of our community, for that is what we are--a community--and we must support each other in these difficult times.

The Institute will be open tomorrow, but again, anyone who has concerns about the welfare of a family member or friend should be excused from class or work and supported in dealing with those concerns.

There are a number of ways we can help each other by coming together this afternoon and evening:

  • This afternoon at 5:00 on the steps of the Student Center, there will be a gathering for reflection, prayer and support.
  • The MIT chapel remains open and the chaplains are available for counseling.
  • Tonight, Baker Dining Hall, Next House dining hall and the Pritchett Lounge will all be open with free snacks and television monitors available until 1:00 a.m.
  • Housemasters and graduate resident tutors will be available for advice, counsel and support.

Another way you can help is to donate blood, which is urgently needed. Wednesday and Thursday, the Red Cross will be accepting blood donations in the Sala de Puerto Rico. Hours will be noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, but may be extended.

Please continue to check the MIT home page, the MIT Information Line (x3-7669), and MIT cable channel 12 for further information and updates.

Thank you for your help in this difficult time.

In an earlier statement, MIT said:

"We are not aware of any threat to the MIT campus, but continue to monitor the situation. Classes are being held and student services are being maintained.

"Students should remain on campus. Administrative offices remain open. Any individual who has concerns about the welfare of a family member or friend should be excused from class or work and supported in dealing with those concerns.

"Lincoln Laboratory has dismissed all non-essential personnel for the day, as has Hanscom Air Force Base."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 12, 2001.

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