U.Va students in France are unharmed, Sullivan says

University President condemns Paris terrorist attacks in email


All University students studying in France are safe, University President Teresa Sullivan Saturday said in an email statement Saturday following the Paris terrorist attacks.

The attacks on the French capital Friday have claimed more than 120 lives with many more injured. The Islamic State terrorist group has taken responsibility for the coordinated attacks.

President François Hollande has dispatched units of the military and closed the country’s borders. He also placed France in a nationwide state of emergency.

Since the news broke, the University has been communicating with staff from its study-abroad program in Lyon and monitoring updates from other Paris institutions where University students are studying, Sullivan said.

French Prof. Janet Horne, the program director, contacted the parents of University students Friday to ask how they felt about allowing their children to remain in France.

Third-year College student Julia Skorcz, who is studying in Lyon, said in an email that she and her parents believe there is no direct threat to Lyon.

“We are very fortunate to have been out of the way of these attacks and while I understand their gravity and mourn for the victims, their families, and the country of France, I personally do not feel any less safe living abroad,” Skorcz said.

Skorcz, who was in Ireland at the time of the attack and will return to Lyon on Monday, felt the attacks marked an important cultural and historic moment in the world.

“We should adapt to and learn from events of and in this world — even the most horrific ones,” Skorcz said.

The total number of U.Va students studying in France is unknown, but there are currently five students from U.Va programs in other countries who had traveled to Paris for the weekend.

“Today and in the difficult days ahead, we will hold our French students and their families and friends in our thoughts and prayers,” Sullivan said in her email. “We condemn intentional violence against the innocent, and we stand together to oppose any attack on the values and basic human rights that bind us together as people.”

Sullivan also noted the past week was “marred by distressing events,” including the acts of “bigotry” committed in Missouri and elsewhere. She encouraged all those affected by the events to reach out to the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

“In this distressing hour, let's come together with a renewed commitment to respect and care for one another as we know we should,” Sullivan said.

The French House will host a vigil Monday at 7 p.m. Student Council will host a separate vigil on Tuesday at 9 p.m. in the Amphitheater.

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