Nov/Dec Contents | Gazette
and Unites After Terror
bright pot of sunflowers sat on the stage of Irvine Auditorium, as
the Glee Club lifted its collective voice in a soft lament:
Oh, my Lord,
what a morning
When the stars
began to fall
day after the worst terrorist attack in the nations history, more than
a thousand students, staff, and faculty gathered together for an interfaith
service of remembrance, seeking to make sense of the horror through prayer,
silent reflection, music, and words.
which has numerous ties to New York's financial district, held its
own vigil for the victims of the Trade Center attacks. Photo
by Tommy Leonardi
course of Americas history has changed forever, said University President
Judith Rodin CW66. The world we knew before the awful events of September
11, 2001, is gone. But we have the power to transmute the most horrific
national catastrophe into a resolve for moral action that establishes
the primacy of goodness in the world.
We can and we
will emerge from this ordeal, sadder, to be sure, but richer in compassion
and wisdom, and more determined to affirm the best of our common humanity.
As we consider
our fears in the darkness in which we find ourselves at this juncture,
said University Chaplain William Gipson, perhaps we will glean some possibility
for the future and for strong hope from the words of South African statesman
fear is not that we are inept. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful
beyond imagining. It is our light, and not our darkness, that most frightens
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our
presence automatically liberates others.
Though the terrorist
attacks occurred miles away from Locust Walk, their effects were felt
viscerally around Penns campus and throughout its alumni community. As
the Gazette went to press last month, 14 alumni were confirmed
dead (please see p. 86). About 300 alumni
had worked in or near the World Trade Center.
In the days following
the tragedy, the University mobilized to help alumni get information about
classmates, provide counseling, collect donations for relief efforts,
and offer faculty experts to comment on the events and their ramifications
for international security and American civil liberties.
v The Office
of Alumni Relations reached out to alumni and undergraduates with a message
board on its Web site (www. alumni.upenn.edu),
where updates, both reassuring and tragic, were posted: A College alumnus
who missed a morning meeting on the 81st floor of one of the towers due
to his wifes knee surgery. A memorial service planned for a Wharton alumnus
who had been at Windows on the World on September 11, and was still missing.
A special event
was planned in New York for October 29, to be held in Avery Fisher Hall
in Lincoln Center, to give alumni living and working in the city a chance
to come together in person and hear selected faculty members discuss different
aspects of the tragedy and its aftermath.
alumni chose to deal with the tragedy by immersing themselves in volunteer
work. Ali Shapiro C91 WG97, who works in the publishing industry, set
up a volunteer clearinghouse <email@example.com>
and recruited many Wharton MBA and Penn undergraduate alumni to help New
Yorks business community rebuild.
I felt I had
to do something, Shapiro said. I was going through the same process
that so many people were, saying, Gosh, me and my MBA. If only I could
have been a fireman. If only I could have been a nurse. Then I began
to think about what else would have to happen to recover from the tragedy.
I started to think about what I had to offer as an MBA and how the business
community was going to be so incredibly affectednot just corporations,
but shoe-shiners and other small businesses near the towers that had to
be shut down. The impact clearly ripples beyond the people who worked
in those towers.
While some alumni
volunteers were able to offer entire days (courtesy of layoffs in the
dot.com world), others have managed to take time off work or volunteer
on nights or weekends. One week Shapiro and other alumni staffed the call
center for Cantor Fitzgerald, a company that lost 700 of its 1,000 employees
in the World Trade Center attacks.
I think people
feel like theyve given something back in a very hands-on way, she said.
It feels more rewarding in some ways than writing a check and sticking
it in the mail.
Back on campus,
classes were cancelled on September 11, and non-essential employees were
sent home. Describing her response to the events, Julie Garson C05 wrote
in The Daily Pennsylvanian that she left class the next
day and went to Hillel: I needed support. I wanted to pray. I wanted
to scream. I thought I might faint. I wanted to break something. I wanted
someone to hold me, and convincingly say that everything would be okay.
of the tragedy, The Daily Pennsylvanian shifted its news coverage
from a water-main break affecting two college houses and the relocation
of an indie-rock music club, sending its reporters to New York to give
firsthand accounts of the devastation at Ground Zero. September 11 was
a day that will profoundly change the world which we will all soon lead,
a DP editorial stated, adding, We at Penn must react with compassion,
support, and an unwavering dedication to rebuild, re-energize and return
to the way of life that was shattered with the first airplane hijacking
Whether or not
we are individually affected, Rodin wrote in a letter to the parents
of Penn students, we are all victims and survivors of Tuesdays events,
and at Penn, we are working as a community to strengthen each other to
meet and overcome collectively the difficult challenges that lie ahead.
Rodin cited the steps the University was taking to meet the needs, worries,
and concerns of our studentsand all members of the Penn communityincluding
keeping Houston Hall open around the clock to provide counseling services,
phones, news, and information, and putting the Penn Police emergency-response
team on full alert. Penns senior administrators cancelled a strategic
planning retreat that had been scheduled for that week in order to conduct
emergency meetings. The University trustees postponed their committee
meetings. And it was far from business as usual at the Wharton School,
which has numerous ties to New Yorks financial district. Recruiting
is normally such a big deal, John C. Bishop VII, a Wharton MBA student
told the Chronicle of Higher Education. But a lot of students
now feel its inappropriate to even think about.
attacks, the University closed Locust Walk permanently to non-emergency
vehicles, stating that it had been considering this option for some time
as part of a general plan to improve campus safety. Penns Division of
Public Safety adopted a policy that would require students, faculty, and
staff to wear their identification cards at all times in campus buildings.
Public Safety officials said the policyunpopular with many students,
according to the DPwas unrelated to the terrorist attacks.
that the FBI might be seeking information from universities about students,
particularly international students, in its investigation of the terrorist
attacks, Provost Robert Barchi Gr72 M72 GM73 notified schools and centers
that any such requests should be forwarded to the General Counsels Office
for review to ensure that important privacy protections are preserved.
a memorial to World Trade Center victims that will ultimately be placed
in Huntsman Hall upon the buildings completion. Student Financial Services
organized Operation Brotherly Love, a relief drive for rescue workers
and those who lost loved ones. Minority groups across campus launched
a Harmony Campaign to fight discrimination against Arab-Americans and
South-Asians [see Notes from the Undergrad,
peace were central themes in the remembrance service held at Irvine. Chaplain
Gipson led the invocation, and three other clergy membersa rabbi, a Roman
Catholic priest, and a Muslim imamshared reflections from their faiths:
to nothing but conflict, said Imam Kenneth Nur-id Din, of Majlis Ash-Shura.
We need to establish peace within ourselves first. Then it becomes much
easier for us to recognize the best way to respond to the insult which
we are all feeling right now, because we dont want the insult to be something
we just react to. We want the insult that produced the tragedy to quicken
us, to look to those policies that are meaningful and that bear the fruit
that we all hope for.
Alpert, representing Hillel, said: In the Talmud the rabbi is asked,
Why did God make mankind from a single being? They answered, So that
no person can ever go to another and say my people is greater than your
people, my ancestors were greater than your ancestors.
Two days after
the attack, the School of Arts and Sciences hosted a faculty symposium,
Responding to Terrorism, at Irvine Auditorium.
Dr. Brendan OLeary,
visiting professor in Penns political-science department and chair of
the Department of Government at the London School of Economics, urged
Americans to take a step back from the passions of the moment. The U.S.A.
and NATO and their allies cannot sensibly go to war against Islam, or
against Islamic believers, and to start to engage in public discourse
of that type would simply make it more likely to lead to extensive repetitions
of what has just occurred, he said. The U.S. must organize with its
allies to bring the perpetrators to justice. But think carefully before
supporting large-scale retaliatory jihads.
I do not speak
as a pacifist, OLeary said. I welcome an interventionist America, from
the Balkans to Africa, depending, of course, upon the purposes of the
interventions. But through rage, an incensed America may act against its
long-term values and interests. Killing civilians is wrong, and that applies
both to terrorists and to governments.
that the U.S. must also appraise its policies in the Middle East and the
Islamic worlds. Though he believes the United States has been scapegoated
and demonized absurdly there, OLeary argues that at least some of the
scorn has been earned by an American foreign policy that before and after
the Cold War, has propped up authoritarian regimes and has, to the abiding
humiliation of the Islamic world, supported Israel, right or wrongand
Israel is not always right.
said, the United States needs to step up its prevention efforts against
terrorism. Your airports, domestically, are the laxest that I have experiencedthat
is because your decision-makers have put commerce ahead of personal security,
and because they have chosen not to have rail networks that would make
you less dependent upon planes. Be prepared to argue for slower planes
and more trains.
policies, border patrols, and internal-surveillance mechanisms need to
be enhanced, OLeary said, the United States should be careful not to
suffer from the illusion of fortress America and antagonize its neighbors
Mexico and Canada, or launch witch hunts against certain populations.
On Monday [September 10], over 99.9999 percent of Americans of Islamic
faith or of Arabic or Central Asian origin would have cooperated in reporting
to the authorities anything they knew of these planned atrocities. The
test of a good security policy is that they will feel exactly the same
way in the future.
Dr. Arthur Waldron, the Lauder Professor of International Relations, the
attacks of September 11 represent perhaps the most catastrophic American
intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor.
He cited two
problems with U.S. intelligence agencies. The first is a preference for
technical meansi.e., satellites, communications monitoring, and so forth,
which produces vast amounts of material. The second is a failure to sufficiently
emphasize huminthuman intelligence. Waldron quoted one intelligence
specialist who had been interviewed by The Financial Times,
as saying, The CIA probably doesnt have a single, truly qualified, Arabic-speaking
officer of Middle Eastern background who can play a believable Muslim
fundamentalist who would volunteer to spend years of his life with shitty
food and no women in the mountains of Afghanistan. For Christs sake,
most case officers live in the suburbs of Virginia. We dont do that kind
Though its tempting
to take some kind of action, Waldron warned against a firepower
demonstration, in which it is shown that advanced aircraft and missiles
in large quantities can, in fact, utterly obliterate some wretched shepherds
hut in the mountains of Afghanistan, or kill thousands of mountain goats,
or worse still, thousands of innocent civilians.
Robert Vitalis, associate professor of political science, at a symposium
on terrorism. Photo
by Stuart Watson
he said, we must reconstruct the terrorist operation to determine how
it was carried out and by whom, and what we did wrong to allow it to happen.
Then we have to go to our allies, and not-so-allies, and talk about joint
Finally, once we have unraveled the whole thing, we eliminate
the terrorist network, root and branch, and kill the people responsible
for the murder of innocent Americans.
Dr. Ian Lustick,
the Merriam Term Professor of Political Science and a member of Penns
Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, challenged the
notion that the abandonment of human intelligence was to blame for the
lack of warning the U.S. had before the attacks. Its virtually impossible
to infiltrate these organizations, he said. We must rely heavily on
electronic and other remote means, but what can and must change is the
relationship between the externally directed reconnaissance apparatus
in the CIA, DIA, and NSA, and the internally directed law-enforcement
apparatus: the FBI. In Lusticks view, organizational rivalries combined
with understandable concerns about civil liberties appear to be interfering
with the effective coordination of our own capabilities. (A few days
after those remarks, in the course of his September 20 address to a joint
session of Congress, President Bush appointed Pennsylvania Governor Tom
Ridge to serve as head of the Office of Homeland Security, a new cabinet-level
office that will coordinate these agencies efforts to prevent terrorist
a Law School professor and expert on constitutional law, emphasized that
Americas defense should not come at the cost of the very ideals that
make it worth defending.
When the enemy
is faceless, he said, we are tempted to see the enemys face in those
who resemble him. Sadly, America has been down this track before, when
120,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Sounding a caution
about personal privacy, he added that America must also take care in any
investigative measures it allows the government to put into place in
the interests of national security, because we will live with them for
years into the future.
We have been
attacked and that attack has been made easier by the openness of our society;
we have been put in fear and that fear is more difficult to dispel because
of our idealism, Kreimer said. But that openness and idealism are the
basis of our strength and our hope; we must not purchase todays peace
of mind by abandoning the liberty of our future.
column | Nov/Dec Contents | Gazette
Copyright 2001 The Pennsylvania
Gazette Last modified 11/1/01
the events of September 11, alumni and friends of the University
of Pennsylvania have expressed a desire to do something meaningful
for survivors. Many have looked to the University as a symbol
of both enduring values and hope for the future. They have asked
what the Penn community can do to memorialize those who were lost
and to help their families.
University has created The Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory
of those who lost their lives as a result of the attacks on September
11, 2001. The Memorial Scholarship Fund will provide financial
assistance for undergraduate students at Penn, with a preference
for spouses and children of those killed on September 11. It will
assist future generations in acquiring the kind of education that
will help them achieve their personal goals and improve their
world. The Fund is an affirmation of the intellectual and humanistic
values that are so vital to our University and to the world community.
of the Penn family might also want to consider making memorial
gifts to the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict.
Established in 1998, the Center is dedicated to understanding
and ameliorating the ethnopolitical violence that is taking such
an enormous toll in todays world. The mission of the Center is
to bring the highest level of talent and commitment to bear on
uncovering and explaining the phenomena underlying these violent
intergroup struggles. The September 11 attacks and subsequent
events have made clear the need for such study.
interested in contributing to The Memorial Scholarship Fund should
contact Joanne Hanna at (215) 898-4551 or at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
For gifts to the Solomon Asch Center, contact Jean-Marie Kneeley
at (215) 898-5262 or at <email@example.com>.