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Letter from President Brown


Dear Friends,

We are still learning about the explosions that occurred earlier today near the Finish Line for the Boston Marathon. We now know that the two explosions at the Finish Line were the result of devices planted at the scene and we also know that additional unexploded devices have been found. Two people were killed and many more seriously injured, including a Boston University student who was critically injured (we cannot yet identify the student). Boston University police have stayed on duty to protect our campus and support Boston and state police.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have experienced a dreadful loss and those whose loved ones are terribly injured.

Obviously we will work with safety officials to understand as much as we can about what has happened. We are advising all Boston University students to stay in their residence halls and apartments and continue to follow the guidance of the Boston Police Department. All community members who are not on campus should stay home and avoid the immediate area. Please monitor BU Today for updates about University actions that we take as we learn more.

Yours sincerely,

Robert A. Brown


44 Comments on Letter from President Brown

  • Anne a BU student Parent on 04.15.2013 at 8:07 pm

    Thank you President Brown for your words of concern and encouragement. My thoughts and prayers are with all of Boston and BU.

    • Cris a BU student mom on 04.16.2013 at 10:37 am

      Yes, thank you President Brown. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Boston and BU ~

  • Karla Brewster on 04.15.2013 at 8:09 pm

    We are keeping Boston and BU in our prayers, all over the world.

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2013 at 8:34 pm

    I see that BU is open tomorrow. With a panicked city hours after a terrorist attack, it is certainly an brilliant move on the part of BU administration to make sure that classes are held. Way to make us feel safe BU and make sure that we put classes before safety, people, and mourning.

  • Kate a BU student Paren on 04.15.2013 at 9:17 pm

    Have there been a complete sweep of BU campus/buildings for explosives b4 students return to classes?

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2013 at 9:56 pm

    Can we give it 24 hours?

  • Denise Thiel on 04.15.2013 at 10:02 pm

    Can students and parents be assured that the Boston University Campus classrooms and labs have been sweeped clean with no evidence of anymore devices?

    • Anonymous on 04.16.2013 at 5:26 pm

      I feel as though one can reasonably suspect, given heightened security, that the buildings have been searched and cleared since classes were planned to be and are now in session.

  • On behalf of BU students on 04.15.2013 at 10:06 pm

    I believe personal securities are much more important than missing out on a class or an assignment or an exam.

    Also, many of us are already discouraged of walking outside, meaning most of students will probably end up not going to class due to the fear for terrorism.

    When BU Police has not given out the final words for the safety of anyone in the city, I think it is very logical to say that requiring students to go outside to go to class is not a very suitable idea.

    Some of us have personally witnessed the terror, vividly imagining the scene still. I believe students are in need of mental and physical comfort at this very moment, at least for a bit.

    • BU employee on 04.16.2013 at 12:48 pm

      When you let someone disrupt your daily life, you essentially let them win. And with the prices you’re all paying to attend classes at BU in BOSTON you have no business missing classes. It’s your job to go to class. It’s the police’s job to make sure it’s safe for you to go to class. If they had any reason to think it WASN’T safe, they’d close down the areas or the whole school if necessary. Since it’s not, unless you were directly affected by the blasts, get over it and get on with your life. Stop trying to find excuses or blame BU for something some likely deranged or disturbed individual(s) did as a way to get out of class. If you were affected, then it’s your duty as an adult to seek help through the proper channels. No one can force you to get help nor are they forcing you to watch the news or look at the pictures from the scene.

      • Tim O'Dea on 04.16.2013 at 2:19 pm

        Bravo…well said. Keep calm and carry on!

      • Bertha on 04.16.2013 at 10:58 pm

        How embarrassing to consider this as just an excuse to get out of class.

  • elisabeth carter on 04.15.2013 at 10:27 pm

    Thank you President Brown for the wise decision to hold classes tomorrow. Terrorists–whether largescale or a domestic/single disturbed individual, feed on and delight in fear. Returning to normalcy is healthy and defiant against such fear mongering. Coming together in the classrooms is a better idea than leaving students to isolate with their fear. However, it might be wise to also hold alternative gatherings for those too upset to study, without absence from class penalties, though I imagine compassionate teachers will allow for needed and guided discussion within the classrooms as well. My thoughts and prayers for healing go out to the community. –SED Alum

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2013 at 10:30 pm

    I agree. BU should take actions and guarantee students’ safety before requiring us to attend classes. Complete sweeping must be done first. I believe I pay $60,000/yr for a reason.

  • Consuelo Chronis on 04.15.2013 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks president Brown for addressing the bombing. I was anxious to know how the bombing had affected BU since my son is a 3rd year student there. I appreciate the desire to return to normalcy, however, could you please tell us if indeed the entire campus has been carefully checked to ensure the safety of all? If necessary, classes should be postponed.

    Can you please also let us know who is the student critically ill and what is his/her condition.


    Consuelo Chronis

  • Jim in NOLA on 04.15.2013 at 11:03 pm

    Making the decision to hold or cancel classes is a very difficult one for any administrator. Therefore, I strongly believe it is wrong to judge an administrator for whatever decision is made. Sometimes the best thing to do is to try to engage in a typical/normal activity, even when typical/normal is the furthest thing away from what one is feeling. Within the context of this activity, I am sure professors will use judgment in exactly how much actual class to hold. I remember how on the day after 9/11, I was very upset when our superintendent decided to hold classes. In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions he could have made. It was better to try to engage in something structured, even if it was far away from normal. After awhile, the constant gazing at the horror on tv is simply counter-productive. In addition, it was a way for students/faculty to support each other, rather than exist in quiet isolation in front of a tv.

    • a bicyclist, too on 04.16.2013 at 9:24 am

      Well said. I agree.

      • Ryan Ives on 04.16.2013 at 10:03 am

        I too agree with the above. I am a BU alum and was in Pentagon City during 9/11. I was pursuing a MA at Georgetown at the time and classes were not cancelled if memory serves. I encourage the students, faculty, and staff to have courage and faith. Go to class, but by all means talk about what happened, lean on each other, and move forward together.

  • Tim Chen on 04.15.2013 at 11:05 pm

    I think the main issue, regardless of whether the school is completely inspected or not, is that students are not in a stable state of mind to be in a study mode.

    I wish BU can understand the emtional mournings and fears of the students, rather than just being so technical about this horrifying situation.

  • Leslie BU Parent on 04.15.2013 at 11:47 pm

    My daughter was trembling walking to her dining hall this evening from her dorm on Beacon St. Can the BU staff truly expect her to be in a frame of mind to study for a chemistry exam tomorrow? How can the BU campus possibly have been inspected at this point? Let’s give it 24-hours so the city might provide some answers.

    • Anonymous on 04.16.2013 at 5:36 pm

      It is a BU student’s duty as an adult to address these matters on his/her own. This is not high school or elementary school; parents should not be speaking for their children. BU students have been provided with added and substantial security around campus. Additionally, counseling professionals are and have been reaching out to the college community to provide these growing adults with outlets to handle their emotions responsibly. I have no doubt that, although stressful, this is a valuable life lesson to your daughter and all students on how to address what life puts before us and move forward.

  • Jeff on 04.15.2013 at 11:59 pm

    I completely agree with Elisabeth. Also, this attack was not aimed at Boston University or committed on BU property. University counseling services will surely be in full force for those who would like to seek help. For those who do not feel safe, it is your choice to not attend class tomorrow.

  • Freshman Mom on 04.15.2013 at 11:59 pm

    I do hope that individual instructors and the administration in general show compassion and flexibility this week. It is one thing to hold classes to promote a sense of normalcy it is another to expect students to still take exams and turn in their best work. The students take their school work very seriously and it is unnecessarily stressful to have to worry about assignments and deadlines when they are first and foremost worried about the attack.

  • Sean Barley on 04.16.2013 at 12:11 am

    Thanks President Brown for your encouraging words of comfort during this horrific event. And, may the Lord watch over the entire city of Boston and Boston University tonight and comfort those who have been injured and the families who mourn over their deceased loved ones. -STH Alumni

  • Patrick Durkin on 04.16.2013 at 12:19 am

    Tomorrow is still Tuesday. On Tuesday I wake up, go to class, and then to work. Tomorrow will not be any different. The events of today were horrible, tragic, and despicable. They occurred in a city where I have lived for 3 years and spent time in my entire life, having grown up less than an hour away. This city is my home and my home has been broken into. I refuse to be scared in my own home, I refuse to change my life because there are disgusting people in this world and today they found their way to Boston. We are hurt, we are afraid, but we cannot be broken or defeated. We can check every inch of every building for a bomb, but that will not stop a psychopath from walking through the door, tomorrow or any other day. I refuse to sit in my living room and watch the news repeat the same footage of today’s events that I have been watching all night. Tomorrow is a new day and Boston must move forward. I stand with the President Brown and the University’s decision to open for business.

    SMG ’13

    • BU Senior on 04.16.2013 at 9:54 am

      Well said, Patrick.

    • BU Dad on 04.16.2013 at 12:35 pm

      I agree Patrick. My son, a BU freshman, is obviously shaken after his world was literally rocked. However, returning to normalcy reveals to the evil doers that we will not succumb to their intentions, and it breathes life back into our children. I too am shaken – my son was nearby when this horror occurred – but we have to carry on. This determined spirit will let all know that we are still standing tall, together, bent but not broken. Kudos to President Brown and the University; my prayers are with you.

  • BU Student on 04.16.2013 at 1:48 am

    They’re warning to not be in groups on the news, but the administration thinks its smart to allow 16,000 kids on a campus less than a mile away from a terrorist attack less than 24 hours before.

  • Ana on 04.16.2013 at 4:51 am

    BU is one of the largest employers in the city. Being open Tuesday is important not only for students, but for the thousands who work at this school. This is about a lot more than “having to go to class.” We had school the day after 9/11, we’ll go to work the day after this.

  • Dean Virginia Sapiro (CAS) on 04.16.2013 at 7:41 am

    Boston University students, faculty, staff, and administrators are all in the same boat here — our hearts go out to all who were hurt and whose friends and loved ones were hurt. We are all shaken by this horrible act. But the best thing we can do is to come together to do what we do, work together, comfort each other, and show our strength and resolve together. For those who need help, I’m sure BU Today will continue to have updates. The CAS Office of Student Programs and Leadership and its advising office are open for business at 100 BSR — it’s a good space to find other folks to talk to.

  • Ganga Srinivas on 04.16.2013 at 8:41 am

    Kudos to the BU administration for the courageous decision to hold classes. The natural reaction to retreat and seek safety fulfils the perpetrators’ desire to disrupt our lives. Coming together to resume daily activities does not mean that our children will not have the time to process what occurred – it will allow it to be put in context, and they will learn a life lesson in carrying on in the face of adversity.
    Perfect safety would mean none of us would get out of bed.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the BU student injured at the marathon, and all the other families affected directly.

  • Sarah Costinelto on 04.16.2013 at 9:33 am

    I don’t like that there is class today. My classmates do not at all feel ready to go back to school and classes and just pretend like nothing ever happened. Anthroplogy means nothing to me right now when I’m scared to even go downtown.

  • Parent on 04.16.2013 at 10:12 am

    I am surprised that the administration expects students to return to class the day after an attack that occured in the center of their city and home. Does the administration really believe that students were able to study and concentrate on their academics during this time? How fair is it to penalize the students who were concerned enough to spend their time trying to help others or at least stay aware of the situation in case of evacuation or other city wide recommendations? And how about the safety issues that have been raised? Certainly not a decision made in the best interest of the students.

    • concerned BU alum on 04.16.2013 at 6:35 pm

      I was a BU undergrad on 9/11 who had parents that worked and lived in NYC. I knew many people who lost their lives that day, and it was, by far, the worst day of my life. We had class THAT AFTERNOON, and it was honestly the best thing for me. Having contacted my family the morning of the attack and knowing my immediate loved ones were safe, going to class pulled me away from staring at the television in horror, watching helplessly as my home and innocence was destroyed. My professors were completely understanding, and would never have penalized anyone who felt unable to attend class that day. However, having class provided us with a safe place to sit with others and discuss our feelings. Not much (if any) real “work” took place, but just physically going through the motions of the “normal” routine helped us heal. Before bashing the University for not thinking of “the best interest of the students”, take a step back and truly think about what that means.

  • Laura Gaffney on 04.16.2013 at 11:21 am

    My tears and prayers are with the good people of Boston and this wonderful BU community…thank you for your kind, sensitive and caring words Mr. President.
    –A parent of a Freshman in Claflin Hall

  • Ann on 04.16.2013 at 11:24 am

    I am conflicted … I understand the sentiment that we should not allow the antagonist to think they have gotten the bettr of us…on the flip side ..by saying calm and carrying on ..many of us are not processing what has happened to us … physically or emotionally… hunkering down for 24 hours would not be a bad thing for any of us in this city.. and then we pick up from there … healing helps us to carry on … we should be devoting time to healing rather than our business as usual mentality … (this is happening citywide and not just at BU)

  • BU Alum / HBS student on 04.16.2013 at 11:41 am

    Thank you for addressing the BU community President Brown – please keep the broader BU alumni updated on our BU family, not only for solidarity, but because many of us still call the wonderful city of Boston Home. – UNI/SMG 2008

  • SteveFromBoston on 04.16.2013 at 12:12 pm

    And this my friends is what makes America great. On this one issue we have a vast difference of opinion and we can voice these opinions openly without fear. This privilege of free speech, that we often take for granted, is a rare commodity in many parts of the world even now in 2013.

    I work here at BU and not for one minute did I consider not coming to work today. Yes yesterday was horrible, but horrible things happen in the world every single day. We can and we will get through this……we must.

    “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
    ― Mark Twain

  • BU parent on 04.16.2013 at 12:32 pm

    I concur with the decision to go on with a regular schedule, with the caveat that students will not be penalized for absences.

    • Madhavi Goenka on 04.16.2013 at 2:39 pm

      I agree.All humans react to situations differently and this occurrence has left us all shaken,especially as parents of International students watching it all unfold on the TV.First and foremost students need to feel safe and get their wits together.Only then will they do their classes justice.If they feel they need time to get back to routine,they should not be penalised for missing a day or two.

  • Ghislaine de Rochefort on 04.16.2013 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you President Brown for keeping us informed—especially important for us parents who live abroad and perhaps do not have as much access to information as those in the States. I absolutely agree with your decision to continue with university life. It is now in the hands of the federal, state and city authorities. it does no good to sit it out. My prayers are with the injured student.
    Ghislaine (mother to a BU senior)

  • Andrea on 04.16.2013 at 3:29 pm

    I had to take today off for other reasons and was wishing I could have gone to BU for work to be with my “family”. BU is a great place to be, with people who genuinely care about each other.

    My thoughts and prayer are with the BU community and to all of us who have been witness to such a horrific event.

  • Pedro Arriagada on 04.16.2013 at 8:48 pm

    I am a BU graduate and as a student I run the marathon in 1978. I saw the runners go by Wellesley this year and I felt proud of being part of it. Now I am sad and sorry for the dead and injured and I join the BU community in this moment of sorrow. Boston is a great city and BU my alma matter, we know we live with terrorists around us. Lets be brave and do not surrender, go BU go.

  • Robert Wafawanaka on 04.16.2013 at 10:52 pm

    As a BU graduate (my wife too) and Boston Marathoner, my heart goes out to all affected by this tragedy. But Boston will always have a special place in my heart.

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