Nearly 200 students, faculty, staff, and others gathered Wednesday night at the University of Miami to remember victims of recent terror attacks around the globe.
In an emotional tribute at the UC Rock, the group held light sticks and paused for a moment of silence to honor victims of the recent attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and injured hundreds more. Many hugged each other, with some shedding quiet tears.
Philippe Letrilliart, the France Consul General to Miami, told the crowd that the attack on Paris was an attack on all countries that value freedom. At the end of the ceremony, people were given a candle to light to send love to those impacted by the attacks.
“Having the University support us this way, I think it lets students know that they have people they can go to,” said Jeremy Penn, president of SpectrUM, the University’s LGBTQ organization.
The remembrance was arranged by the Council of International Students and Organizations. Other speakers included Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs, and Rene Monteagudo, director of the University’s Counseling Center.
Following the November 13 Paris attacks, U.S. flags at the University were lowered to half staff to honor the victims. Ten UM students studying in the City of Light were each contacted, and all reported safe.
Devika Milner, director of Study Abroad, said the University closely monitors U.S. State Department travel alerts and warnings, and no warnings have been issued at this time about restricting travel to France. Milner said partner universities in France have been contacted, and there are no plans to cancel classes there.
UM has also offered support and counseling to about 45 French students and scholars studying here.
"The health and welfare of all UM students is our utmost concern," said Whitely. "We will provide whatever assistance is needed for our visiting students and scholars from France, and our students traveling abroad. We continue to monitor the situation very closely."
UM President Julio Frenk tweeted the University's support the night of the attacks:
"The attacks in France are an assault on all we uphold. The UM family affirms the dignity of all people and stands in solidarity with France," Frenk said.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation Sunday that all U.S. Flags at public buildings would be lowered to half staff until sunset November 19 in honor of the victims.
The Miami Hurricane student newspaper talked with two UM students in Paris. You can read the story here.
In a related matter, the UM School of Law is hosting a symposium on Friday that will discuss domestic terrorism in the United States. The symposium had been scheduled prior to Friday's attacks in France.
The 2015-2016 National Security and Armed Conflict Law Review Symposium will be held from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Shalala Student Center. The symposium is titled: "The Rise and Leaderless Resistance: The Changing Nature of Domestic Terrorism in the United States."