Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, September 19, 2001
Campus joins nation in mourning terrorist attacks


A week after thousands of people died during the worst terror attacks on American soil, Stanford faculty, staff and students are preparing to start Autumn Quarter as scheduled, though waves of grief and shock continue to roll through campus.

People sat with bowed heads and listened to prayers punctuated by silence at Friday's service. Photo: L.A. Cicero

So far, the death toll includes at least one Stanford graduate: Bryan C. Jack, MBA '78, an economist at the Pentagon, was aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which struck the Pentagon Sept. 11. Jack headed the Defense Department's programming and fiscal economics division.

A second alumnus, Vincent Boland, who graduated with a master's degree from the School of Education in June, is missing. According to friends, Boland worked on the 97th floor of 1 World Trade Center for Marsh McLennan. The company is missing more than 300 employees.

Stanford staff members are invited to attend a brown-bag discussion and information session from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday in the Oak Lounge of Tresidder Union. Panelists from the Public Safety Department, the WorkLife Office, the Help Center, Human Resources and Memorial Church will answer questions and address concerns related to the recent attacks that killed everyone aboard four commercial airliners, demolished a section of the Pentagon and brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

Stanford mourns

The voices came haltingly at first -- quiet pinpoints of sound from a crowd of thousands gathered at noon Friday on the Main Quad, where a service was being held in observation of the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance proclaimed by President Bush.

"My sister. Her name is Robin," one man called out, somewhat louder than others. People groaned in sorrow.

With greater frequency, more voices were heard. They spoke the names of those who may have been injured or killed in the terror attacks. They also spoke the names of those who were injured, stranded or otherwise could not be reached on account of the disasters.

"It's all right even if the names tumble out of you and come at the same time on top of each other," said the Rev. Scotty McLennan, dean for religious life. "For we lift up all; we lift up each and every person's name in prayer."

Many students, administrators, professors and other university staff, as well as residents from the surrounding community, attended the service, which included prayers by various members of Stanford Associated Religions.

"I just hope that some prayers can do something," said Julie DiCarlo, a graduate student in electrical engineering.

"I'm just really upset," said Kerry Roach, an administrative associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She said the memorial service shows "that we're all united and that we support our country."

President John Hennessy told the crowd that Stanford's motto, "The Winds of Freedom Blow," could serve as inspiration for people struggling with questions about freedom and how to maintain a free society.

"It seems to me, however, that if we alter our commitment to a free and open society, we will have given these terrorists a victory which they do not deserve," Hennessy said.

He also noted that skin color, national origin or religious affiliation are not evidence that a person harbors terrorist sympathies or is involved in terror activities.

Earlier in the week, the Islamic Society and Muslim Student Awareness Network at Stanford received hate messages via e-mail shortly after the attacks.

"I want to say in the most emphatic way possible that there is absolutely no place for this kind of behavior in our community, a community that is dedicated to respectful intellectual exchange," Hennessy said in a written response. "The events of Sept. 11 are painful to all of us at Stanford, and we condemn these acts in the strongest way. At the same time, we must refrain from the temptation to misdirect a sense of outrage to a group of people based on a stereotype or on their religion or ethnicity."

Friday's gathering was the second campuswide service held last week. At noontime on Sept. 11, at least 1,000 people attended a vigil in Memorial Church.

"It shattered our sense of national invulnerability. These things always seem to happen elsewhere -- not here," McLennan said. "We're here to pray for those who have died, for rescuers, for healers, for our country and for the world."

Other university officials, including Hennessy and Vice Provost for Campus Relations LaDoris Cordell, also spoke at Tuesday's gathering.

"When and if the perpetrators of these horrific acts are identified, it is my fervent hope and prayer that we will not see this as an opportunity to direct vengeance or hatred to those who might look like the perpetrators or who may belong to the same group as the perpetrators," Cordell said. "Rather, it is my prayer that we will -- all of us -- have the courage to say to those who would engage in this behavior that this is wrong and unacceptable. Finally, it is my prayer that this Stanford community will set an example for the rest of the country by coming together in peace, in love and in unity."

Bomb scares

Two bomb scares also shook the campus last week. The first one occurred just a few hours after Tuesday's terror attacks. About 9:35 a.m. that day, an unidentified male caller told police that "the Hoover library would be gone in an hour," according to Sgt. Laura Wilson of the university's Public Safety Department.

The suspected bomb threat resulted in the evacuation of the Lou Henry Hoover Building, the Hoover Memorial Building, Hoover Tower, Meyer Library and Green Library, campus police said.

Police initially reacted to the call by evacuating Meyer and Green libraries and cordoning off the buildings with yellow tape. The Hoover buildings were evacuated a few moments later after a review of the call, which was recorded, revealed that the caller referred specifically to the Hoover library, police said.

No bomb was discovered.

On Sept. 13, an unidentified male caller said a bomb was set to explode in the emergency room of the Stanford Hospital or in the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in an hour, said Detective Lori Kratzer of the Palo Alto Police Department.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department searched the emergency room area and the first two floors of the children's hospital after most patients in those sections had been evacuated, Kratzer said.

No bomb was discovered, but hundreds of people -- including visitors, nurses, doctors and patients -- were affected by the threat, Kratzer said. Traffic on roads leading to the hospitals was diverted, and the incident kept police and other emergency officials tied up for about three hours. (See related story)

The buildings were reopened about 2 p.m.

"It's unthinkable that someone could do this at this time," Kratzer said. "If we find out who made this call, we will seek criminal prosecution," she added.

Disrupted plans

Adding to the emotional stress of the past week, the tragedies have disrupted the schedules of many faculty, staff and students. The Stanford in Washington program for Autumn Quarter, which originally was set to begin Sept. 13, was postponed until Sept. 17, given that many airports closed for at least part of last week.

"We just maintained flexibility with everyone's travel plans," said Kiki Setterlund, assistant to the program director.

Meanwhile, some international students planning to arrive on campus this week have indicated they may be late, said John Pearson, director of the Bechtel International Center.

By Tuesday afternoon, the number of graduate students who had signed in at the center was down about 40 percent overall from the same time last year, Pearson said, but "it seems to be picking up."

In addition, there are four undergraduates whose visa status is unclear, Pearson said.

For Stanford students going abroad, Autumn Quarter programs at Overseas Studies centers are set to begin as scheduled.

Parents from around the nation and Hong Kong have offered themselves as resources for families who wish to discuss transportation to Stanford. For a list of contacts, visit

News Service writer Craig Kapitan contributed to this report.