Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, September 13, 2001

Stanford mourns terrorist attacks
Hoover, libraries evacuated after phone threat


The terrorist attacks Tuesday at the Pentagon and in downtown Manhattan, where thousands are feared dead, sent waves of grief and shock across Stanford's campus.

Hours after the attacks, at least 1,000 people attended a vigil in Memorial Church. The Law School shut down for the day and classes were canceled. The Stanford Bookstore also closed. Meanwhile, a suspected bomb threat made to the Hoover Institution Library at Stanford resulted in the evacuation of the Lou Henry Hoover Building, the Hoover Memorial Building, Hoover Tower, Meyer Library and Green Library, campus police said. It's unclear whether the threat was linked to attacks on the East Coast.

About 9:35 a.m., an anonymous, 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.

Initially, police reacted to the call by evacuating Meyer and Green libraries, which were then cordoned off 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, police said, and the evacuated buildings were reopened about 12:40 p.m.

At the Memorial Church vigil, a young woman sat at a pew with her hands clasped and quietly sobbed.

Scotty McLennan, dean for religious life, asked God to help people find their way through the web of emotions -- the anger and the pain -- caused by the attacks.

"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 officials, including President John Hennessy and Vice Provost for Campus Relations LaDoris Cordell, also spoke at the gathering.

"My roots go back to New York -- I was raised less than five miles from the World Trade Center," Hennessy said. "I ask that you keep in mind those whose lives have been affected by this tragedy."

Cordell said: "When and if the perpetrators of these horrific acts are identified, it is my hope and fervent prayer that that we will not see this as an opportunity to direct vengeance or hatred to those who my look like the perpetrators or who may belong to the same group as the perpetrators.

"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."

The Rev. William "Scotty" McLennan spoke at Tuesday's vigil. Photo: L.A. Cicero

It's unlikely that the majority of international students expected to arrive at Stanford next week will have difficulty entering the United States, if they have their visas, said John Pearson, director of the Bechtel International Center. However, their arrival could be delayed if flights are grounded or otherwise postponed.

There is also a possibility that some students could "get flak" as they try to enter the country, Pearson added.

Students who haven't yet obtained their visas could face delays, given that many U.S. embassies will be shut down and focusing their energy on tasks related to the terrorist attacks, he said.

For Stanford students going abroad, Fall Quarter programs at Overseas Studies centers are set to begin as scheduled, according to Overseas Studies Program officials