Events continuing to unfold across the Atlantic are affecting some students on ACU’s campuses.
Early this afternoon, several attacks took place in Paris on multiple targets, apparently leaving dozens of people dead and an estimated 100 held hostage. France has declared a state of emergency, and President François Hollande has closed France’s borders and mobilized its military.
Lucile Pothier, sophomore accounting major from Aix les Bains, France, grew up just four hours from France’s capital city and said she was disturbed by the news.
“One of my friend just sent me a text one hour ago, saying ‘Stay in Abilene Lucile.’,” Pothier said. I’m very shocked about what is happening right now.”
Pothier was in France in January when terrorist’s attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. She said this attack brings a heightened sense of fear to the city.
“This new attack is very terrifying; a lot of people hang out on Friday night in Paris, and I can’t imagine the chaos over there right now,” Pothier said. “As a French citizen, I’m very shocked, and I send all my prayers to all the victims who did not deserve to be killed tonight by terrorists. A long period of questioning and awareness will arrive in France after two terrorist attacks of great magnitude in less than a year.”
Pothier said, despite the fears this raises, she hopes she will be able to return to France for Christmas break.
When Emily Muhlberg heard about the attacks, her mind went immediately to her high school best friend, Elise Barbaud, who lives in Paris. Muhlberg, junior Ad/PR major from Boerne, said she was afraid for Barbaud and her family but now knows they are safe.
“I know her parents work in downtown Paris, and I wasn’t sure if they were in the area that was targeted,” Muhlberg said. “She said they are all stunned and terrified about the recent events, especially since hostages are still being held. There is a general sense of confusion and not really knowing what to do.”
Muhlberg, like many students on campus who have studied abroad in Europe, has spent time in the city of Paris and expressed sadness for the city as these events continue to unfold.
“I was heartbroken thinking about all of the innocent people who were killed – average Parisians, tourists, just everyday people,” Muhlberg said.
Morgan Hare, junior kinesiology major from Amarillo, is studying abroad in Oxford this fall. Students abroad have been traveling around Europe all week, and Hare confirmed ACU students abroad are safe and accounted for.
“No one was in France, thank goodness,” Hare said. “We’re in Athens, Prague, and Edinburgh. Keep praying for Paris.”
UPDATE: 6:27 p.m.
French officials report about 100 killed in the hostage situation at the Bataclan, a Paris entertainment venue, according to the Associated Press.
UPDATE: 6:47 p.m.
Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman and the French Police union said at least two attackers have been killed in the Bataclan and 112 people have been killed throughout the attacks in Paris, according to CNN. The hostage situation is over.
UPDATE: 7:03 p.m.
The death toll has risen to 118, according to CNN.
UPDATE: 7:22 p.m.
At least 149 reported killed in attacks, according to CNN.
UPDATE: 7:26 p.m.
Five attackers may be dead in violence across Paris, according to the Associated Press.
UPDATE: 7:49 p.m.
At least 153 reported dead in the attacks, according to CNN.
UPDATE: 9:04 p.m.
French police believe all attackers to be dead, but are continuing the search for any accomplices, according to AP.