November 15, 2015

Dear Members of the Trinity Community,

I write today against the backdrop of the tragic events that have taken place in Paris.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, with all the residents of Paris, and with all who have ties to France.  Many of us are deeply concerned about friends and colleagues in that great city, and we feel a sense of solidarity with them as we struggle to find ways to help.

I write also to convey, gratefully, that the 30 students in our Paris study-away program are safe.  The staff at both our Paris site and in our Hartford Study-Away Office have been in contact with all the students and are continuing to do so as new information becomes available.  They are also in communication with the students’ parents.  The safety and wellbeing of our students is paramount and I thank the staff and faculty involved for their close attention and care in this difficult situation.

Along with approximately 70 other American study-abroad programs in Paris, Trinity has made the decision to allow students to stay and complete their semesters in France, if they choose. We will continue to evaluate the situation but currently believe that, given heightened security in Paris, and throughout France and surrounding countries, the city will be safe for our students in the coming weeks. In making this decision, we considered advice from the U.S. State Department and the independent international security firm Drum Cussac, and noted that major French institutions of higher education located in Paris will be open for classes this week, including Sciences Po, an institution with which we have a long-standing relationship. We will, nonetheless, be emphasizing safety precautions and providing students with strong recommendations concerning activities for the remainder of the term.  We will also continue to provide students with the support and counseling they may need.  However, if an individual student decides he or she wants to return to the United States, the College will respect the wishes of the student and his or her family. Details are still being worked out, but it will be possible to finish courses by completing assignments and a final essay that will be developed and graded by the student’s current faculty members in Paris.

In addition to our students, we are also mindful of our alumni who live in Paris, and of the student families who reside there.  You are in our thoughts, and we offer our support in any way that may be helpful.

Today, we in the Trinity community feel even more strongly our connection to the larger community of people in France who have been shaken by these events. We will continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers. The College will offer a time of prayer and reflection for our community during Common Hour this Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 12:15, at the Chapel. All are welcome.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor
of Neuroscience