Oak Leaves

November 20, 2015

MU Loved Ones Safe in France

Sarah Farnam

Manchester’s sole student studying abroad in France this semester is safe in Strasbourg, 300 miles from the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks on Paris that left at least 129 people dead.

Senior elementary education major Mackinzie Kempton told The Oak Leaves she was at home in Strasbourg with her host mom when she learned on Facebook of the attacks. “I didn’t fully understand what was happening until the next day,” she wrote in an email.

“People are afraid and worried,” she said. “I have noticed more military people present on the streets. The police can more easily search people.”

Kempton is among many French connections to Manchester University, whose faculty and students have traveled, studied and lived in the European country. Too close to the crisis for comfort – but also safe – is Markus Gilliar, brother of English Professor Beate Gilliar.

He was photographing the France-Germany soccer match at the Stade de France that was a target of the attacks. Three suicide terrorists set off bombs outside the stadium. Gilliar made it out of the stadium unharmed.

“One does not want to imagine what would have happened, as Markus also pointed out to me, as 80,000 fans were in the stadium,” said Professor Gilliar, who made copies of the newspaper that published her brother’s first-person account of the scene.

Although Manchester University often sends January Session classes to Paris, no trips are scheduled for this January, said Thelma Rohrer, director of international studies and dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.

The abroad program has a system for reporting on, evacuating and connecting with students abroad who suddenly are threatened by emergencies. Rohrer swiftly received a report about Kempton.