September 11, 2001, is a day that lives in infamy worldwide. For the University of Maryland, the attacks hit particularly hard, due to the campus’ proximity to Washington, DC, and the number of students from the attacked regions.
Classes were canceled that afternoon, and students were in shock. The University provided counselors to the campus community, and administrators immediately spoke about the attack. President C.D. Mote, Jr., said that it was “a day of mourning and reflection.” He also noted how different student groups would be effected by the events.
“We need to keep our free and open society here and not blame groups,” Mote said that day.
Out of fear of repercussions, the Muslim Students’ Association moved their midday services and were protected by four police officers as they prayed. There were no violent attempts to disrupt their observance.
Meanwhile, students were frantically checking their cell phones and huddling around maintenance trucks to hear the radio reports, according to The Diamondback. In addition, groups of students could be seen all across campus with tears in their eyes and their heads bowed in prayer.
The Health Center began working with the Red Cross that day to organize a blood drive by the end of the week. Other drives within the county were advertised on campus by those trying to help replenish the supply of blood at hospitals.
In Athletics, the first focus was on the safety of family members of the student-athletes. At least three football players had family that worked in the twin towers, and luckily all were safe. ACC Commissioner John Swofford postponed all athletic events in the conference through September 15th, the following Saturday, and the Terps postponed their football game against West Virginia for two weeks.
On the 12th, The Diamondback reported that two former faculty members had been killed in the attacks. The paper covered the events throughout the rest of the week, including the memorial service on McKeldin Mall, and included more Associated Press news stories than the editors usually tended to do.
The dramatic and extensive coverage of this national and international tragedy in The Diamondback is a vivid reminder of the impact of these events on the UMD community as they unfolded, an impact which continues to this day.
The Diamondback is the university’s primary student newspaper, and its coverage of campus events provides an invaluable perspective on the university’s history. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is currently available on microfilm in the University Archives and McKeldin Library. This post is the part of a series based on information collected during the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on our Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts. Look out for more DigiDBK posts from our team throughout the coming months!