Archive for Friday, July 8, 2005

KU student from England stunned

Study abroad participants unharmed

July 8, 2005


Henry Way couldn't believe it.

On Wednesday, he was celebrating his home country's victory in luring the 2012 summer Olympics. On Thursday, he was mourning the loss of his fellow British citizens who were killed in a series of bombings.

"It's very frightening, when it's the capital city of your home country under attack," said Way, a Kansas University student from Bristol, England. "I felt what the Americans felt on Sept. 11."

Watching BBC news broadcasts online Thursday, the KU Ph.D. student in geography said he could understand why terrorists might go after subway stations. One in particular he's familiar with, the Kings Cross station, is always packed with people.

He said London may be lucky the death toll was limited to less than 40.

"I'm surprised maybe more people weren't killed, knowing how busy the tube gets," Way said.

By midafternoon, Way had made contact with most of his friends and family who live in and around London.

Likewise, KU officials had made contact with all 47 students and faculty involved in summer study abroad programs in the United Kingdom.



The students weren't studying in London. They were mainly in Glasgow and Cambridge.

However, KU officials said, at least one student was in London and was close enough to feel one of the blasts.

"We sent them messages to call family and friends to let them know they're OK," said Diana Carlin, dean of the Graduate School and international programs.

Students in one program are planning to return to the United States on Sunday. Carlin said it was too early to know if travel plans might be affected.

"I imagine it'll just be a lot of heightened security," she said.

Carlin herself experienced what it was like to track down a loved one in London. Her sister and brother-in-law are traveling there and had been in a pair of the subway stops attacked earlier this week.

Carlin finally reached them after 30 to 45 minutes of busy signals.

"It was a little unsettling to know she'd been at two of those stops this week," she said.

Meanwhile, in Lawrence, police were vigilant but taking no unusual precautions.

"There's no reason to do anything more than what we're doing and remain vigilant," said Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin, who is considered in police circles to be an expert on terrorism.

"This is a repeat of Madrid," Olin said, referring to last year's commuter train attacks that killed 191. "It's a very common tactic. It's timed probably as a result of London getting the Olympics to maximize the fear that people aren't safe."

Way said he knew his country would rebound quickly from the attacks. After all, he said, London has seen bombings by the Irish Republican Army before.

But he said the attacks did cast some uncertainty on the future of British politics and the response to terrorism.

"I think this shows you never know what will happen," he said. "One day, it's the jubilation of the Olympics. The next day, tragedy."

Staff writer Eric Weslander contributed information to this report.


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