Duke students in Paris were quickly accounted for following Friday night’s terrorist attacks in the city.
The attacks, which began at 3:20 p.m. EST according to CNN, involved multiple shootings and bombings around Paris, as well as a hostage situation. At 6:43 p.m. EST, the Duke Global Education Office for Undergraduates reported that all Duke students in the Duke in France/EDUCO study abroad program in Paris had been accounted for.
“From the moment we learned of the attacks, we were in contact with students, asking them to check in with us,” wrote Amanda Kelso, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education and executive director of the Global Education Office, in an email Sunday.
Many of the students were outside of Paris traveling at the time of the attacks, Kelso wrote in a separate email to students in the Duke program and their parents. Kelso also noted that students were advised to take precautions for their safety.
“All students in Paris should monitor and adhere to directives from the French authorities,” Kelso wrote in the email to students. “Current instructions are to shelter in place until further notice. Students traveling outside of Paris and/or France should monitor the security situation closely before attempting to return to the city.”
Duke junior Max Kramer—who was in Paris at the time with the Duke program—wrote in an email that his host mother was the person who first notified him of the attacks. Kramer also reported that he quickly received many messages from friends and family asking where he was and if he was safe. He responded to these messages individually and posted on Facebook to indicate that he was safe.
“I was contacted by Duke around 11:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. EST), although I know Emory students on the same program were contacted by their school closer to 2 a.m.,” Kramer wrote. “We received a second email from Duke around 12:40 a.m. saying that every Duke student had checked in and was safe.”
Duke GEO states on their website that each program is required to have contingency plans for emergency situations. The office also contracts with International SOS to provide travel assistance and medical evacuations for all Duke study abroad programs.
Following the Paris attacks, the program contingencies were not implemented, Kramer explained.
The GEO monitored International SOS and the U.S. State Department for security information, however, and updated students and parents as soon as they received information.
At this time, the GEO is not considering canceling current or future study abroad programs in France unless the security status in the region changes significantly, Kelso explained.
Even after the attacks, Kramer noted that he does not feel that his safety is at risk.
“I continue to feel safe in Paris,” he wrote. “We had classes today like normal. I walked around parts of Paris both Saturday and Sunday without considerable fear.”