To students at Boston University, services and vigils at the
school's Marsh Chapel have been as natural a place as any to be
this past week.
Senior Susan Harrington says a lot of students who don't consider
themselves religious have attended the events "almost
instinctively." Ms. Harrington went herself on Friday night with
fellow athletes. "There's been a real sense of solidarity about all
this," she says.
The interdenominational Protestant worship led by the Rev. Hope
Luckie last Sunday was just one of numerous commemorations -for
students and community members of all faiths - that have been held
in and outside the chapel since Tuesday. Many have signed a wall of
remembrance there for the victims of last week's attacks; the
statue out front is littered with candles.
But a number of students also talk about having to make sense of
last week's events more or less alone. Adam Ratner, a first-year
graduate student in international relations who focuses on US
foreign policy, says his professors didn't really addressed the
week's events in class. "They just kind of glossed over it," he
says. "My guess is they were afraid to jump to any conclusions."
Mr. Ratner says there was panic on campus last Tuesday as
students flocked to phones trying to call family and friends. By
the weekend, though, campus routines had resumed. "At the same
time," he says, "there's a presence. You know things in the rest of
the world aren't the same."
The university is not the same either. "We cry out of our depths
in the words that Paul used: 'What then are we to say about these
things?' " Rev. Luckie said in her sermon.
Not only are many students coping with personal losses and fears,
Luckie said, but "our Islamic students are afraid. They are in
"I have news," she preached to a damp-eyed congregation, "The
Islamic community is not our enemy. They should not be persecuted
because we are afraid."
* * *
This year's "First Look Fair" at the University of Maryland
College Park campus had balloons and stalls like last year. But not
everything was business as usual. Ten thousand flowers lined the
edges of a central pool and fountain. A curtain of white sheets,
covered with the prayers and statements of grieving students and
staff, cut across the mall. Members of the Muslim Student
Association (MSA), the Pakistani Student Association, and others
spent time assuring non-Muslims that Islam does not condone