Tufts students in Paris confirmed safe following terrorist attacks

Security forces and police outside the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris as people are being held hostage on Friday, Nov. 13. After clearing the hall of attackers, officials reportedly found more than 100 dead inside. Olivier Corsan/Maxppp/Zuma Press/TNS

All Tufts students in Paris are confirmed safe in the wake of terrorist attacks that killed over 120 people in the city and left France in a state of emergency Friday night.

“I have heard from the Program Manager of International Safety & Operations [Claudia Jackson] that those students studying with Tufts-in-Paris are safe at this time,” Executive Director of Public Relations Kim Thurler told the Daily in an email. “Students studying with non-Tufts programs are [also] safely accounted for.”

There are ten students on the Tufts-in-Paris program this semester and six on non-Tufts programs: four with New York University (NYU), one with the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) and one with Middlebury College, according to Sheila Bayne, associate dean of undergraduate education and director of Tufts Programs Abroad. All 16 are safe and accounted for, Bayne said.

Member of the Tufts-in-Paris program Nika Korchok, a junior, also confirmed that all students in the Tufts program are safe and with their host families.

Kathleen Schmidt, another student in the Tufts-in-Paris program, said that she and other Tufts students were getting on the Paris Metro when they heard the news about the attacks.

“We all live on the outskirts [of Paris], so everyone just went home and is fine,” Schmidt, a junior, told the Daily via messenger. “Unbelievable though… still can’t [wrap] my head around it.”

Schmidt explained that students had received an email from the Paris program canceling a trip to Southern France, which had been planned prior to the attacks.

Junior Ben Taylor, a student with the Tufts-in-London program, explained that he was traveling in Paris at the time of the attacks and that the program’s assistants had checked in with him to make sure that he was safe.

The terrorist attacks in Paris involved an apparently coordinated series of bombings and shooting rampages, which the militant group ISIS has since claimed responsibility for. The deadliest of these attacks resulted in the death of at least 80 people at the Bataclan concert hall, where hostages were held during a two-hour standoff with the city’s police, according to a New York Times article. Others were killed in coordinated attacks in five other popular Paris locations, including outside the Stade de France sports stadium during a soccer match between Germany and France. Eight terrorists have been reported killed.

In a nationally televised address, French President François Hollande said that the government had “mobilized all the forces [it] can muster to neutralize the threats and secure all of the areas.”

According to a BBC News article, approximately 1,500 military personnel are being deployed across the city. In addition, France has closed its national borders and increased security around flights in and out of Paris. Paris residents have been asked to stay indoors.

The U.S. Embassy in Paris has advised American citizens and official U.S. personnel in Paris to shelter in place and “heed local authorities and maintain security awareness.”

The Tufts-in-Paris program is located on the University of Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle), University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) and University of Paris VII (Paris Diderot) campuses, all of which are in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris, according to the Tufts website.

To inquire about U.S. citizens currently in Paris, please call 1-888-407-4747.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.