As the dust settles in New York and Washington, UW-Madison administrators brace for the inevitable emotional surge that usually follows tragedies such as the one witnessed Tuesday.
Classes continue, but speeches, athletics and concerts are being postponed or cancelled as UW attempts to provide security and comfort for its students and faculty members.
“We are concerned about how this is going to affect all members of our community,” said Paul Barrows, vice chancellor for student affairs. “We want to make sure we have all the services in place to help people.”
Services include a series of crisis-oriented plans aimed at curbing emotional distress and providing students with the resources they need.
Jean Chagnon, associate dean of students, said counseling services and financial aid for students who will be leaving the campus for emergency reasons are available.
“We are continuing to provide information for students about how to contact the airlines, the World Trade Center, etc.,” Chagnon said.
Students can call the Dean of Students office at 262-5700 for information regarding the resources UW is providing.
Another option for distressed students is Counseling and Consultation Services, 905 University Ave., an arm of University Health Services.
CCS is providing both one-on-one assistance for students as well as meetings with campus organizations and at residence halls. CCS held meetings Tuesday at Chadbourne Residential College, Hillel, and the Multicultural Student Center to give students opportunities to discuss their feelings.
“The things we have done have been pretty well attended,” said CCS director Bob McGrath.
McGrath also said that many students and professors are complaining that focusing on school is just too hard. This is evident in the number of students and faculty found flocking around television sets across campus throughout the day, McGrath stated.
“People really want to know what’s going on,” he said. “That’s one of the ways people are coping.”
The “crisis debriefings” throughout campus are being requested more than one-on-one counseling, McGrath said, but UW expects this will change as the news begins to settle in.
“Grief reactions tend to be delayed,” McGrath said. “They’re starting to trickle in, but they’re letting us know they have other things to deal with. “People just want to make connections with their family [right now].”
McGrath said the trend of counseling requests growing as time progresses is a trend at other national universities he has been in touch with.
CCS can be reached at 262-5218.
Chagnon said the Dean of Students office is also experiencing only a handful of student concerns, but they, too, expect it to pick up in coming days.
Most inquiries, Chagnon said, are information-based, such as students looking for information about blood drives.
Kent Barrett of UW Communications said a number of students have asked about the Student Crisis Fund, which offers financial aid to needy students in the event of an emergency, but no one has yet applied for the financial aid.
The Dean of Students office is also making efforts to track down and advise students from New York, who may have personally been affected by Tuesday’s events. According to Larry Lockwood, an associate registrar, there are 502 students enrolled at UW from New York, and 116 enrolled from New York City itself.
Some other campus officials are making sure students retain peace among themselves.
An e-mail from Larry Davis, who oversees UW residence halls, said that he is concerned for international students who may be targeted by angry American students.
“Please help maintain and make this community a safe and welcoming one for all of us,” wrote Davis. “It is our sincere hope that no members of our community are made to feel uncomfortable. One of the most damaging aspects of international tensions is the scapegoating of innocent individuals.”