Bells, Art, Eloquenceand Silence: All Campuses Observe September
An alma mater
that lost students and alumni, and relatives of faculty, staff
and students last September 11, CUNY marked the tragedys
first anniversary with memorials, conferences, an art installation,
music, candlelight vigils and moments of silence.
| At Queensborough Community College
University community, we share a deep sense of grief and sorrow
over the loss of loved ones and all those who perished. As New
Yorkers and Americans, we join with the citizenry in seeking to
cope with the profound distress attributable to the impact of
terrorism, said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
Responding to a request from Governor Pataki, the Central Office
and every University campus marked the solemn occasion. At Borough
of Manhattan Community College, the CUNY campus most devastatingly
affected by the terrorist attacks, a solemn afternoon ceremony
included the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and the singing
of God Bless America. Baruch Colleges Mishkin
Gallery, at 125 East 22nd Street, opened In Memory: The
Art of Afterward, an exhibition of work by artists from
16 countries. The installation offers a cross-cultural study of
the themes of global violence, genocide, and the aftermath of
trauma in a 9/11 context.
Bronx Community Colleges commemoration on its campus quadrangle
included poetry readings, music and meditation. A special art
exhibit featuring contributions from students, faculty and staff
was also displayed. During Brooklyn Colleges rites, participants
were asked to bring flowers for the campuss Wall of Remembrance.
|At Bronx Community College.
series of activities at the College of Staten Island was high-lighted
by the dedication of a Meditation Garden and a candlelight vigil.
City College convened a "Call to Remember" at 9:15 a.m.
in Lewisohn Plaza to the sound of bells ringing and verse read
by the poet Cornelius Eady.
The Graduate Center presented a two-day conference, Death,
Bereavement and Mourning: What We Have Learned a Year After 9/11.
Notable was the eminent psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, speaking
on Death and Human Continuity: 9/11 and Beyond. (Continuing
its work is the Graduate Schools permanent Digital Archive
of first-hand accounts of the attacks and the aftermath.) Hostos
Community Colleges observation featured a moment of remembrance
and of healing, readings, messages, and reflections by the campus
community on September 10 in the Colleges Atrium.
A highlight of the plenary gathering
at Hunter College was a reading by English Professor Jenefer Shute
from her contribution to 110 Stories: New York Writes After
September 11, a new book just published by NYU Press (all
proceeds designated for 9/11 survivors). The audience also heard
words from columnist Pete Hamill. September 11 became A
Day For Reflection at John Jay College, and special events
included an original play based on dozens of oral histories that
was mounted by John Jay students, faculty, and staff.
On the eve before, a candle-light gathering took place on the
Kingsborough Community College waterfront, with student leaders
holding flags representing the countries which lost citizens.
Day-long observances on the 11th included a serenity room and
the display in the Art Gallery of a scroll of poetic reflections.
The rubric for LaGuardia Community Colleges ceremonies was
A Changed World: A Global Community Reflects and included
a tree dedication moderated by a student who was a rescue volunteer
at Ground Zero.
The Lehman College community unveiled a permanent plaque in front
of a memorial tree, amid inspirational poems and song, while the
campus Art Gallery offered Missing an installation
by Barbara Siegal. It was inspired by the posters placed by hopeful
relatives near her apartment, which was just eight blocks from
the Twin Towers. I was always struck and deeply moved by
the combination of ineffable sadness and irrepressible optimism
which they represented, Siegal said.
"A Time for Reflection" unfolded at Medgar Evers College
to the sounds of the Imani singers.
Queens College held a memorial service and candlelight service
on its Quad, and on Alumni Day (Oct. 5) a memorial plaque will
be dedicated. At its ceremony, Queensborough Community College
presented certificates of honor to more than 30 College faculty,
students and staff who contributed to the 9/11 recovery efforts,
and honored local policemen and firefighters.
Just before September 11, another important CUNY salute to those
it has lost came a step closer to reality. Five finalists were
chosen from a field of fifty proposals to compete for the grand
$10,000 prize in the 9/11 Memorial Competition for
the best website design reflecting on the terrorist attacks and
the aftermath. A panel of distinguished judges will announce the
winner in December.
At a moving gathering in the Kibbee Conference Room at the CUNY
Central Office, just before the observation of a moment of silence,
Chancellor Goldstein said, "As I reflect on the University,
I search for ways for it to participate in ways that universities
do best. We don't fully understand this event, in part because
our thinking is very much clouded by the depth of our emotions,
which are still very raw."
The Chancellor then observed, "But this is what universities
do: they are places of open exchange of ideas. They are places
for people with knowledge, with experience, people who can set
an event like this in a historical context and shed light on the
incomprehensible. This University and others stood tall and sought
not only to give comfort but also to help people understand and
participate in a developing sense of clarity about what happened."