Tuesday morning’s news called for quick action among UW-Madison administrators.
Despite the absence of UW Chancellor John Wiley, who was stranded in California when the government ordered the shutdown of the nation’s airports, campus organizers pulled together to provide support and assistance to the school’s students and faculty.
Dean of Students Alicia Chavez, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Paul Barrows, Interim Provost Gary Sandefur, who acts as chancellor when Wiley is absent, and many others spent the day putting together a string of resources for students.
In a mass e-mail sent to all students, faculty and staff members, Chancellor Wiley explained some of the options students have.
“We are making provision for counseling and travel assistance [for everyone] affected by these events, particularly where family relations are involved,” Wiley said.
Students who need counseling in dealing with the deaths and destruction stemming from Tuesday’s tragedy can contact Counseling and Consultation Services, 905 University Ave., to set up counseling appointments.
Bob McGrath, the organization’s director, said they are already overloaded with requests.
“What we’ve had mostly are student groups and members of residence halls asking us to come and facilitate or meet with students,” McGrath said.
Counseling and Consultation Services, a part of University Health Services, spent most of Tuesday night and will spend most of today in “crisis debriefings,” he said.
“The primary thing we do is create a forum for them to talk.”
Last night’s debriefings took place in a variety of places, including a private residence hall, Hillel and Chadbourne Residential College.
Chadbourne’s meeting saw about 80 concerned students discussing their issues with the counselors and a residence life coordinator.
The concerns of most students range from not having heard from loved ones yet to questions about giving blood.
“I feel like I can’t do anything,” one student said.
The Dean of Students office said it is doing what it can to ease students’ concerns.
“We want to make sure we have all the services in place to help people,” Barrows said.
Barrows said the Dean of Students Office is working to increase communication between administrators, faculty, students and parents.
Last night, representatives from the Dean of Students Office were present at the Red Gym’s Campus Assistance and Visitor’s Center until 12 a.m. to field questions from concerned parents and students.
While the center had not received too many calls by Tuesday night, they expect the number will grow over the next few days.
The Dean of Students Office is also giving out information about the Student Crisis Fund. This will allocate funds to students who know someone involved in the terrorist attack and need to travel.
However, campus administrators are not the only ones providing aid to UW students and faculty.
The UW Law School organized a schedule of trips to give blood at the Red Cross Tuesday afternoon. They hope to continue the trips over the next few days to help ease the blood shortages in New York.
“We do a lot of community service and this is one of the few things we can do,” said Ruth Robarts, Dean of Students at the Law School.
The Law School also opened all its phone lines to free long-distance calling for the day.
Members of the United Religious Workers and UW sponsored an interfaith vigil Tuesday night on Library Mall. The candlelight vigil featured a host of speakers singing and prayer.
“At times like this, we are faced with many emotions — anger, fear, helplessness, sadness,” said Chavez, who spoke at the event. “We, as administrators, as providers, teachers and scholars, serve you with our hearts.”
Today will also see a number of events aimed at curbing the emotional pain of Tuesday’s attacks. The American Red Cross will host a community support meeting at the Pyle Center from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the Multicultural Student Center will host one of numerous counseling sessions with UHS on the 2nd floor of the Red Gym from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Wiley said students with concerns or questions should direct their calls to the Dean of Students Office, 262-5700, for appropriate referrals.
— Sarah Jones contributed to this report