A day after waking up to find the nation under attack by terrorists, members of the University community yesterday were no less steadfast in their solidarity and support for a nation bruised but not broken.
As a response to the Red Cross” plea for blood donors, a five-hour long drive at the Veteran Affairs Hospital on North Campus collected more than 180 units of blood, twice the average intake for a blood drive, organizers said.
VA Hospital Associate Director Paul Scheel said that while the drive was a big success, donors are still needed.
“We had folks from the University who came over, we had folks from the community who came over, we had people who had called the Red Cross who had rare blood types that were desperately needed so they referred them to us,” Scheel said. “This was probably one of the best blood drawing days that they”ve had across the nation since the end of World War II.”
Southeastern Michigan sent 1,000 pints of blood to New York City on Tuesday, Scheel said. There were so many people trying to donate blood that some were even turned away.
The University”s chapter of Zeta Beta Tau lent its support by taking to the Diag with buckets, asking passers-by to donate whatever they could.
“We drove out to the American Red Cross (to donate blood) and they gave us buckets and told us the one thing they needed more than blood was money,” said ZBT President Ben Pomerantz. “There are a lot of guys in our house from New York, and everyone in our house has been affected.”
By mid-afternoon, ZBT members said they had collected nearly $1,500 in donations, and by evening, that figure had risen to $4,000.
In English Prof. Ralph Williams” class, Williams said students” decisions to unite in the face of tragedy was apparent by the response to an e-mail he read aloud.
The letter, sent to Williams by a former student, who is of Arab nationality, urged others to promote peace.
“The class is to me, a wonderful group of students and fellow human beings and, so far as I could read their eyes, the response was one of deep human care, respect and firm intent to deal intelligently and courageously with the situation but without being driven by a careless desire for revenge,” Williams said.
Like many professors who chose to focus their classes on reflection of the attacks yesterday, Williams said he felt the need to speak about the terrorism and to stress that human beings all have something in common.
“It is my sense that the people who committed these horrors would understand themselves as having motives, intention. But in my view, their actions were purposeless to the larger aims of us humans for the human good,” he said. “And my word to myself and all others is to take care that that call be answered not with a careless desire for vengeance but a renewed dedication to respect and understanding and to a united society.”
Not all professors chose to speak about Tuesday”s events, and some students said that decision upset them.
“Almost everyone I know has been affected in some personal way by what happened in New York and Washington,” said LSA senior Amanda Atherton. “Many students were already behind in their studies due to the distractions yesterday. Now we find ourselves in an even worse place, unable to concentrate in class and with more work piled on.”
LSA Dean Shirley Neuman said she is positive that professors and students will be able to work out any complications that may arise from those personally affected by the tragedy.
“We are encouraging instructors to be flexible with students who must leave classes for a period of time to be with their family or friends most deeply affected by the events in Washington and New York,” Neuman said. “I am sure that our faculty will be understanding in accommodating this request.”
Another blood drive is scheduled from 2-8 p.m. today at the Michigan Union.