Students Rally on Quad in Support of Boston
Issue   |   Tue, 04/23/2013 - 23:16

Last Friday over 100 students, faculty and administration members gathered together on the First-Year Quad to show solidarity with the city of Boston and the victims of recent tragedies. Students held up signs saying “Stay Strong, Boston!” and a photo of the event was taken and publicized to show support for the city. In addition, donations were collected for One Fund Boston, a charity created by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino to provide help for those who were most affected by the events.

This event came at the end of a very difficult and scary week for Boston. On Monday April 15 at 2:49 p.m. two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing three and injuring 282 other people. On April 19 at 1:00 a.m. a policeman from MIT was allegedly killed in a shootout with the suspects from the bombings. One of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was reportedly killed that night. The other suspect, his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is currently being held in federal custody.

The event to support Boston was put together by Ian Hatch ’14 and George Tepe ’14.

“The purpose of the event was to support each other because we have so many ties to the community,” Tepe said. “We also wanted to show support to the people not connected to Amherst and show that we are with them as well.”

Hatch, a Boston native, felt personal responsibility to act regarding the situation. His grandmother lives close to where the bombing took place, and luckily avoided the explosion by deciding to walk down a different street while doing errands.

“I woke up that morning and thought it would be really weird if we didn’t do anything,” Hatch said. “As the morning wore on there was no announcement, so I decided that I had to do something.”

He emailed Amherst College Police Chief John Carter to see if such an event was permissible, and quickly received approval. He then contacted Tepe who is “useful in organizing events like this.” Turnout to the event was bolstered by a Facebook event created by Chris Friend ’14 and an email forwarded from Dean of Students Charri Boykin-East.

“The administration was very supportive and did a good job disseminating information about the gathering,” Tepe said.
In response to the tragic events, the Amherst College Police have closely monitoring the situation in Boston. “During this past week we were very vigilant,” Chief Carter said. “We have been paying very close attention to information that was coming out of the Massachusetts State Police and the FBI as well the media.”

Throughout all of this surveillance, there was never any indication that Amherst was threatened.

“None of our information indicated that there was a threat to any of western Massachusetts,” Chief Carter said.
Despite this, Chief Carter acknowledges that there is always a possibility of disaster.

“The reality is that it could happen anywhere. I always hope that we as a community don’t have to face what the MIT community is facing right now,” Chief Carter said.

“Amherst College is a solid, small community. One of the great strengths we have here is that we are close knit, and we have a feeling of who belongs and doesn’t belong. The people who live here are quick to submit suspicious activity, and this is a strength that supports the Campus Police,” Carter said. “If you see something suspicious then you should always contact us.”
“It is probable that terrorist attacks will occur again at some point in the future,” Hatch said. “Tragedies like this deserve a response but we need to have a keep calm and carry on attitude.”