I would like to express my utter disgust and disappointment in the provost’s statement yesterday concerning the tragedy in New York City and Washington. I am a graduate student, and when my class started at 9:30, just as Tower 2 collapsed, the instructor brushed off the events as if a severe thunderstorm was about to enter the region. Then the second insult came directly from the university in the form of a letter/news release that treated the events as if trivial or inconsequential.

The question as to continue instruction was not one of safety, as noted, but one of respect and empathy towards those who were affected. Not to mention, the UW community is a widely diverse one consisting of students who have family and friends along the East Coast. I myself have four friends who work in the World Trade Center complex.

Once again, this is not a question of safety. This is a question of humanity. This is a question of priorities. Apparently the university needs to evaluate just what their priorities are, and how their decisions affect the entire student body.

Do you honestly think any conscious human being sitting in a class today was able to concentrate on the issues presented by the instructor? I myself did not feel “completely” safe or conscious walking across campus today. Madison is no New York, but it is all part of America. I was moved to tears more than once today by the events that unfolded, and needless to say, I did not attend classes after my knowledge of the events. Thankfully one of my professors had the common decency to cancel instruction today out of respect.

I would like to express gratitude to my department, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences for their appropriate and comforting emails. Thank you all for your time in reading this. I have thought all day about writing this letter and assure you I am not doing so in anger, but in disgust.