Alumni searching for classmates

Still shocked by Tuesday’s tragedies, Yale families, students and alumni have turned to the University and their Yale friends for answers — but definite information may still be long in coming.

Only a handful of people affiliated with Yale have been reported to the University as missing. Yale is trying to set up a control center to provide information about people related to the University who may have been involved in Tuesday’s attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. In the meantime, Yale alumni have been getting information through each other in massive class e-mail lists.

Fleming Terrell ’01, for example, forwarded names of150 people in her class who she said have been confirmed as okay to the Class of 2001 e-mail list.

“How relieving to see the names coming in of people who are okay. And what a surreal enterprise,” Terrell wrote in the e-mail she sent Wednesday evening. “It seems awful to have such a list, but hopefully it’ll put some fears to rest.”

Members of the Class of 2001 have each received more than 60 e-mails from the list since Tuesday’s tragedy.

Tami Alpert ’00 e-mailed the Yale Alumni Center Wednesday afternoon requesting that the office compile a list of all alumni who are reportedly safe.

“I have received a number of mass e-mails from friends asking for people to reply that they are OK,” Alpert said. “I think that the situation calls for a ‘roll-call’ list of sorts, as inaccurate as it may be. If an e-mail were sent by AYA requesting a simple response by recipients, then a preliminary list could be prepared, relieving the anxiety and fear felt by the Yale community regarding friends.”

But Yale is wary of providing misinformation, said Jeff Brenzel, executive director of AYA.

“There is a lot of weird stuff going around,” Brenzel said. “[The University] doesn’t want to send families into tailspins. We’re really trying to get a handle on how many Yale affiliates were involved.”

AYA and the University Secretary’s office have received notification of a handful of people associated with Yale who are missing.

Brenzel said so far he has not heard that any current Yale students are missing, and he declined to release the missing peoples’ names because Yale has not confirmed the information.

The University is not routinely calling to check on its graduates with the Red Cross or other information numbers. Administrators do not want the victims’ families to be prevented from reaching the information lines because Yale is tying up phone lines, said Martha Highsmith, deputy secretary of the University.

Brenzel said Yale might make a central location for all inquiries about Tuesday’s tragedy, and that eventually the University might do something to recognize any Yale affiliates who were involved.

In the meantime, Yalies are providing as much comfort and information with each other as they can.

Joshua Kleinfeld ’01, who is now living in Washington, wrote to the 2001 list Wednesday afternoon: “If anyone needs help in Washington, D.C., please feel free to call me. … I’ll do everything I can. My prayers go out to everyone touched by these events.”

Comments