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September 11, 2001

Within hours of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a large-screen television was set up in the Villard Room, along with a bank of long distance phones for students to contact their loved ones. Counseling services provided counseling staff until midnight, and the Chapel remained open all night. On September 12 President Fergusson led the college in a service of grief and remembrance under the great tree on the Library lawn, where members of the college community placed flowers and messages.

In the following days and weeks, the College responded with relief efforts and support services. In a letter to President Bush, students, faculty members, administrators and staff urged him “to use the channels of diplomacy and law to bring the terrorist criminals to justice, and counsel all possible restraint in the use of force.” “The war on terrorism,” the letter said, “must be a war on poverty and ignorance at home and abroad as well as a war on those who perpetrated the crimes of September 11. It must not be a war on foreign cultures or foreign populations.” Vassar Student Association President Adrienn Lanczos ’02 said, “Not all students were united in their broader political stance, but it seems as if most Vassar students have expressed a sense of frustration with those who would allow misinformed prejudices and impulsive reactionary politics to guide the domestic response of our wounded nation.”

Two members of the immediate Vassar family, Ruth Ketler ’80 and John Schwartz ’75, died in the destruction of the trade center. The Miscellany News, Vassar; The Alumnae/i Quarterly

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