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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, February 25, 2024

UW students react to East Coast disasters, administrators speak at evening vigil

The terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., have affected people around the world, with students at UW-Madison proving to be no exception. 




Shortly after hearing the news, the local Red Cross filled with potential blood donors, with a wait that reached three hours during the day. 




Members of the UW-Madison women's tennis team decided their energies would be best directed by helping those who are now suffering. 




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'We went to practice, and we didn't think it was a good day to practice, so we came here,' said Katie Dougherty, a senior on the team, awaiting her turn to donate blood. 'As terrible as the situation is, we're out here in Wisconsin ... this is the only way we could help.' 




Mark Shields, the regional spokesperson for the Badger-Hawkeye Region, Madison Location for the Red Cross said the center had brought in a record amount of blood today. 




'The outpouring of support from the public is very touching,' he said. 'UW has a great tradition of supporting the blood supply and that support will be very important in the coming weeks.' 




Some students, who said they wanted to help but could not because they had to attend class, thought the university should have handled the situation differently. 




'Not only for safety reasons should they have shut down classes but out of respect and consideration for those people who were killed,' said Todd Schechter, a UW-Madison senior from Manhattan. 'And for people like myself who are from New York and for the people who have friends and relatives in New York, to give them an opportunity to find out about the people they care about.' 




Schechter spent the day trying to get in touch with family, eventually learning that his father, who was serving jury duty two blocks away from the World Trade Center, saw the second plane hit the tower. 




'It's so surreal and very eerie,' he said. 'I feel kind of weird not being there ... watching my city on television in Madison.'  




A number of other students expressed shock at what occurred early Tuesday. 




'I woke up this morning and I thought it was the apocalypse,' said Maddie Greene, a UW-Madison senior. 'As an American it's a bit of an embarrassment that we're this vulnerable.'  




Both Greene and Megan Swanson, a UW-Madison senior, thought their professors should have addressed the events more. 




'I don't feel like they took a stand and gave any reassurance,' Swanson said.  




Jordan Cohen, a UW-Madison junior, agreed. 




'It was kind of a shock to just go to a class and sort of have business as usual,' he said. 




While no one had claimed responsibility for the attacks as of press time, speculation as to the involvement of an Islamic militant group has led to tensions on campus.  




'Unfortunately, we already have two documented incidents ... of ladies within our congregations that have been approached in a potentially aggressive manner,' said Mamoon Syed, president of the Muslim Students Association.  




Syed said two people approached one Muslim woman on campus, warning her to be careful. Another woman received a phone call at her home, advising her she would be better off not coming to campus for a couple of days, he said. 




Syed said women are more likely to experience harassment because their headscarves make them more visible as Muslims. However, he said associating Islam with terrorism has negative effects for all Muslims.  




'Islamic extremists are just that'extremists,' he said. 'The Muslim faith does not support or condone this type of action at all.'  




Followers of numerous religions gathered at a prayer service for students, faculty, staff, and community members Tuesday night on Library Mall. 




More than three hundred people attended the event, during which Interim Provost Gary Sandefur and Dean of Students Alicia Chavez spoke along with leaders of four different religions. 




'It's at tragic and frightening [times] like this when we are called upon to rise to our highest character,' Chavez said. '[Let us] consider what is right for our university community ... for the world.' 




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