Around 11:15AM, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger issued a statement on the recent terror attacks seen in Paris, as well as those in Turkey, Lebanon, and Russia, in an email titled “Statement Regarding Recent Global Events.” The email comes more than two days after at least 128 people were killed in city-wide terrorist attacks on the capital of France. Immediately after the extent of the attacks were known, Columbia issued a statement on its Facebook page stating “[they] believe that all Columbia students and faculty at the Paris Global Center are safe and accounted for,” though until now the University had not issued an official statement on the attacks.

The email laments those whose lives were lost in the attacks, and states that the University Chapel’s bells will toll at noon today, allowing us “to pause to reflect on these horrifying events.” Bollinger reaffirms the safety of all Columbia students and faculty members currently in Paris, and goes on to thank the “dedicated staff who on Friday night quickly accounted for everyone and confirmed their safety.”

The full statement from President Bollinger is provided below.

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

We join in mourning the innocent lives lost and in decrying the violent attacks in Paris, as well as in other cities in recent weeks, just as the world mourned and stood together with New Yorkers after 9/11. The University Chapel’s bells will toll at noon today, as we pause to reflect on these horrifying events.

The violence in Paris on Friday night was of particular concern to Columbia because of our longtime presence there at Reid Hall, our academic home for generations of students and faculty, and now the site of our Global Center in Europe. It is, in the truest sense, an historic part of our emerging global University campus. We are deeply thankful that none of our students or faculty currently in Paris were harmed, and we are grateful to the dedicated staff who on Friday night quickly accounted for everyone and confirmed their safety.

We cannot think of the human toll or global consequences of the terror in Paris without thinking also of the recent attacks visited upon the people of Turkey, Lebanon, and, it appears, Russian travelers as well. These events—like so much other daily news from around the world and our own nation—affect some members of our diverse and global University community very directly. For many Columbians, such events also raise profound concerns about how to engage with and improve upon an imperfect and sometimes dangerous world.

For members of our community who feel the need for personal support following these events, we have a variety of resources available, including Counseling and Psychological Services (212-854-2878) at the Morningside campus and Mental Health Services (212-305-3400) at the Medical Center, Columbia Health, and the Office of the University Chaplain.

In our modern society, universities are unique havens for reason, reflection, and the pursuit of knowledge. In times of crisis and stress, both the fragility and the critical importance of these values are all the more evident. Therefore, as we share in this moment of collective mourning, we must also re-dedicate ourselves to being a place where we can together imagine the paths to a more tolerant and peaceful world.


Lee C. Bollinger