Tufts students in Paris confirmed safe following terrorist attacks

Children sit on the shoulders of parents during a moment of silence in Boston Common on Nov. 15 in honor of the Paris attacks. Courtesy Evan Sayles

Hundreds of people, including Tufts students, attended a vigil at Boston Common yesterday afternoon to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night.

Several Massachusetts political figures were in attendance, including Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Valéry Freland, France’s consul general in Boston, according to a Boston Globe article.

The attacks in Paris killed at least 129 people, injured over 350 and left France in a state of emergency. 

One of the victims was 23-year-old American college student Nohemi Gonzales, according to a Guardian article. She was a third-year student at the design school of California State University Long Beach and was studying abroad at Strate College in Paris.  

According to Executive Director of Public Relations Kim Thurler, all Tufts students who are in Paris are confirmed safe.

“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,” Thurler told the Daily in an email. “Students studying with non-Tufts programs are [also] safely accounted for.”

There are 10 students on the Tufts-in-Paris program this semester and six on non-Tufts programs: four with New York University, one with the Institute for the International Education of Students 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 [was] fine,” Schmidt, a junior, told the Daily via Messenger. “[It’s] unbelievable though … [I] 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 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has since claimed responsibility for. The deadliest of these attacks resulted in the death of 89 people at the Bataclan concert hall, where hostages were held during a two-hour standoff with the city’s police, according to the New York Times. 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 the German and French national teams.

Seven of the eight attackers are dead, according to a Washington Post article. There is currently a manhunt underway for the eighth suspect, Salah Abdeslam, who is a French citizen born in Belgium.

The New York Times reports that France retaliated against ISIS on Sunday with airstrikes in Raqqa, Syria, the organization’s capital.

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) and the Institut Catholique campuses, all of which are in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris, according to the Tufts website.