Tragedy in Mumbai hits home for some Marist students

By: Lindsay Straub

After the Nov. 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 170 people and injured hundreds more, Marist extended its deepest sympathies to the Indian students who may have family and friends in India.

President Dennis J. Murray sent out a campus wide e-mail Dec. 2 to address the horrific nature of the attacks, recognize Marist’s long and beneficial relationship with India and reassure the Marist community that “as far as we know, none of the College’s students or their families were directly affected by the terrorist attacks.”

“The Marist community’s deepest sympathies go out to our students, as well as to the entire nation of India, during this very difficult time,” President Murray said in the e-mail. “I know you will join me in keeping the victims of this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.”

According to CNN, gunmen who arrived by boats launched attacks with machine-guns and grenades on at least seven locations in Mumbai including two five-star hotels, the city’s largest train station, a Jewish center, a movie theatre, a hospital and a café.

Graduate student Dinki Mehta is temporarily at Marist to earn a master’s degree in computer science, but lives in Ahmedabad, India—about five or six hours from Mumbai by train. Mehta said that although she has family members in Mumbai, luckily, they were not there at the time of the attacks.

“I was terrified for my family when I first heard the news,” Mehta said. “My parents have since told me the situation is under control and that security is everywhere to scrutinize the case.”

Victoria Mullen, Director of Institutional Research and Planning, said that there is approximately .007 percent or 42 students who reside in India and study at Marist on visa.

“There may be students of Indian decent at Marist, but they are counted as Asian Pacific Islanders, which is too large of a grouping to calculate an exact number,” Mullen said.

Senior Robert Cannella said he cannot imagine how it must feel for students like Mehta who are away from their families during such a traumatic and emotional time.

“My father was in New York City on 9/11, and although I was not with him at the time, I knew I could get to him quickly if needed,” Cannella said. “Had I been thousands of miles away on another continent and unable to get to my family is unthinkable.”

Senior Marissa Guercio said that although Marist sent out a statement showing support for the families of the victims, she does not think “any of us can possibly imagine what they’re going through.

“I went abroad last spring and I know how scary it was not being able to see my family,” Guercio said. “Now throw a tragedy into the mix, and it must be unimaginable.”


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