By Brooke Coupal ‘16
Even though Paris, France is 3,426 miles away from Merrimack College, the terrorist attacks that happen on Nov. 13 affected the Merrimack community.
“Our community was shocked and anguished along with most of the world by this set of terrorist attacks,” said Jim Chiavelli, Associate Vice President for Communications.
Merrimack College took precautionary measures over the weekend in the wake of the attacks. Security was enhanced for campus events through increased police patrol, with the college bringing in more Merrimack officers as well as Andover officers. Bag checks also occurred at large gatherings.
Merrimack College has a variety of emergency protocols for a number of emergencies, including terrorist attacks. Along with this are extensive communications protocols to explain to the community what to do during an emergency situation.
“In case of emergency, revealing details of police planning could potentially share information with those who might use it for nefarious ends,” Chiavelli said.
Merrimack has one student studying in France this semester, but Olf Leyinda Mouyaka left for London four hours before the attacks. He said several members from the Merrimack community reached out to Leyinda Mouyaka to make sure he was safe.
“I feel very safe where I am. I am a few hours away from Paris and here people have been so touched with the events,” Leyinda Mouyaka said.
Back on campus, the regular 5 p.m. Sunday Mass was a time for the community to come together to pray for peace and the victims of violence. The Mass was moved from the traditional location, the Chapel of Our Mother of Good Counsel, to the Collegiate Church of Christ the Teacher in anticipation of a larger crowd.
“Following Communion, each person was handed a lighted candle. Everyone returned to the seats and stood in silence for a moment. Father Rick Piatt, OSA then led us all in Litany for Peace, which is an interactive type of prayer. The Liturgical Music Schola followed that with a chanted hymn for peace and then Mass was ended with the final blessing,” according to Father Raymond Dlugos, OSA.
For students who are experience distress over the attack, or other attacks happening around the world, Hamel Health is available for counseling. Appointments can be scheduled either by calling 978-837-5441 or by walking in.
“If distress is urgent, there is a counselor available every weekday from 1 to 2 p.m. on a walk-in basis, with no appointment needed. Students also can access the counselor on call after hours by calling residence life or MCPD,” Katell Guellec, LICSW, Director of Hamel Health and Counseling Services stated.
“Campus Ministry and the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations are among many resources available to students who may be upset, anxious, worried, or concerned and confused by these tragic events,” said Dlugos.