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NDI confirms safety of students in France during Nice attack

| Thursday, July 14, 2016

Updated July 15 at 8:26 p.m.

Notre Dame International (NDI) confirmed the safety of the eight students in France during the attack in Nice that killed at least 84 people Thursday night.

The attack began when a truck drove into a crowd after a Bastille Day celebration in the southern French city, killing dozens and injuring more, according to news media outlets. The driver was eventually killed by French police.

Tom Guinan, NDI associate vice president for administrative operations, said in an email that the University has been following news of the attack since 6 p.m. Thursday. There are currently eight Notre Dame students in Paris — one of whom traveled to the city from an internship in Dublin, Guinan said. The student thought to be in Brest, a city in northwest France, had already left the country.

Initially, Guinan said NDI had no reason to believe any students were “impacted by this terrible event” and was working to contact the students in France. By Friday morning, the University had confirmed the well-being of six of the eight students. They got in touch with the remaining two Friday afternoon.

NDI did not activate a “world-wide” confirmation, which would entail contacting all students registered as abroad, not just the ones in France. Guinan said Notre Dame uses a set of criteria — such as location, time of the year and day of the week — to determine what course of action to take in case of a large-scale incident like this. The University sends a “world-wide” confirmation in situations where there is a high likelihood that students would be away from their program base and where the event takes place in a popular destination, as was the case with the Paris attacks that happened on a Friday evening in November.

Guinan said NDI is planning to communicate will all students registered as being abroad in Europe on Friday advising them of the incident. Counseling resources are available and students should reach out to their program coordinators with any general questions, he added.

There are 350 students enrolled in official University study abroad programs or participating in research or classroom-based learning programs across the globe. Guinan said NDI has no plans to change or curtail any study abroad programs at this point.

Alice Yang, assistant director for global education in Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership, said no Saint Mary’s students were in France during the time of the attack. All summer programs have ended, she said, and one student is currently participating in an internship in Seville, Spain. The student has been contacted and is safe.

Yang said there are no plans to change any Saint Mary’s study abroad programs.

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