Returning to Campus on Monday: A message from President Celeste Schenck

November 15, 2015

Dear AUP Students and Parents,

It is a remarkably sunny, warm morning in Paris, with neighbors going about their business, walking dogs, jogging in the parks, going to the market, and heading for various gatherings with friends and family.  You would not know the city had been so tragically attacked on Friday night.  Citizens of and visitors to Paris seem eager to see life get back to normal and are refusing to permit the teror of Friday evening's events to get in the way of resuming their routines and lives.  AUP is doing the same.  We have currently located all but 97 of our students, thanks to the help of many parents, faculty, and student government leaders who have been manning the phones and email.  If you still haven't filled in our survey allowing us to update our records automatically, please do so now:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AUPcheckin.

The crisis management team is currently on campus sending out updates, speaking with students and parents, answering queries, arranging to help students get back into the country, and planning for the week ahead.  You can reach members of the team today at +33 1 40 62 06 90.  After hours, in cases of emergency, you can always call the hotline:  +33 6 11 68 76 44.  We can also be reachd by email at studentaffairs@aup.edu.  We'll be monitoring that email box all week very closely.  Please do not hesitate to be in touch if we can offer any support, answer queries, or generally help with your return to campus.

Many of you will be returning today by all possible means--car, train, plane and even boat.  Be sure to have all your travel documents on you, such as personal identification, your AUP ID card to prove you are a student here, and the phone numbers mentioned above so that you can reach us.  Borders are tightly controlled but open.  Stay with your group if you have traveled out of the country together, and travel as well with at least one other sutdent as you go from train stations and airports to your apartments.  At all times make sure your parents know where you are by sending them text updates throughout your day of travel.  In the next couple of hours we'll put up a sheet of travel tips on the website under the emergency banner that can make your return easier.  Please continue to check the AUP website emergency banner on the home page of the website as you travel home.  And call our emergency number if you have any trouble at the border.

Barring any unforeseen developments over the course of the day, the University will open tomorrow (Monday, November 16) along with French schools and universities, and professors will be in their classrooms expecting to see you and support you.  We have asked faculty to postpone midterms and exams and to be available to speak to students who wish to talk about their expereince and the unfolding of recent events.  If for any reason you will not be back in Paris tomorrow, please notify us at studentaffairs@aup.edu first, and then advise your professors by email.  Some families have asked if we can arrange for students to complete their course in abstensia via Skype and/or internet.  We are a small university with a correspondingly small staff and cannot manage such requests, especially given the stress of the moment, for that kind of individualized adaptation of the academic program.  We will, however, accomodate students who return to classes a little later in the week so long as students doing so stay in daily touch by email with their professors.

When such devastating events transpire, it is completely normal to feel anxiety and concern about what has happened.  All of us, Parisians, expats, tourists, students, are struggling to understand Friday night's attacks.  Please know that we have put in place a counseling service on campus that will begin tomorrow. Psychologists on AUP's staff, trained clinicians from our psychology faculty, and counselors will be on duty from tomorrow morning at 8h30 am on the fourth floor of Combes in Student Development and at the President's office.  Please feel free to drop by at any time.  You do not need an appointment.  Should students need further, ongoing support, you will be referred to a psychologist within AUP's system, and this will of course by covered by your AUP insurance.

Please know that we have planned for heightened security on campus tomorrow, having added guards across campus.  We will be extraordinarily strict about entrance into AUP bulidings.  Come early and prepare to stand in line for a few moments as students badge in.  NO ONE WILL ADMITTED TO AN AUP BUILDING  WITHOUT A VALID AUP ID CARD and you will not be able to let other students in on your card.  Members of the crisis management team will also be in front of buildings to assist students, smooth out the process of returning to campus and to answer students' questions.  We are counting on you to show forbearance and patience with the guards who will be managing entrance into our buildings.  See earlier messages if you need to replace a lost ID card.

Later in the week, once everyone is safe back on campus, we will hold a collective event in recognition of the events.  Information on that commnity gathering will be circulated later.

It has been tremendously moving during this very difficult time in Paris to receive so many notes of support from AUP alumni worldwide, from AUP parents who have felt reassured by our communications, and from AUP's dedicated board, several of whom have spontaneously joined our crisis management team.  The powerful sense of community that defines the AUP extended family has grown ever stronger since Friday and is carrying us all forward during this challenging time.  Thanks to the support of so many, AUP remains unbowed.

As ever,

Celeste Schenck, President