Trinity News has spoken to a number of Trinity students taking part in the Erasmus programme in France who have said that College has given them to understand that coming back to Trinity early for students who feel unsafe because of the recent terror attacks in Paris will be very difficult to facilitate. Earlier in the week senior tutor Claire Laudet informed Trinity News that she would be meeting with a number of college officers to review the situation and explore what academic options would be open to Trinity students currently studying in France.
While supports have been put in place, Trinity students have been warned of the problems that could be involved in returning home.
English literature and French student, Orla Howells, who is based in Paris, told Trinity News: “In terms of coming home early, we were told [by College] that it would be very complicated from an academic point of view, as every Erasmus [student] signs a learning agreement for their term. They did say that if you felt really psychologically traumatised by the events then they would insist on you going home, as ultimately a student’s health and safety comes before academics.” However, she was told that for TSM students, in particular, “it wouldn’t be possible to go back to Trinity in mid-November and that we’d probably have to go off books.” She added that these recommendations might vary dependent on department.
Rachel Fleming, who is studying English literature and history in Nice, said that College informed her that returning home following the terror attacks is “not a viable option.”
When contacted by Trinity News, College declined to clarify the situation.
These warnings follow the swift action taken by College after the attacks. Senior tutor, Dr Claire Laudet, and director of the student counseling service, Dr Deirdre Flynn, flew to Paris on the Monday following the incidents and remained in the city until Friday 20 to provide support to Trinity’s Erasmus students. During their stay, a meeting was held at the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris for all Trinity Erasmus students in the city, at which students voiced their reactions to the attacks and were given information on how to deal with any resultant academic pressures. The College representatives also offered to meet individually with students.
Howells, who is studying at Université Paris Diderot, praised College’s reaction. “I was so touched at how quickly Trinity responded to the events,” she said, continuing: “I wouldn’t have expected anyone to fly over to see us and I found Claire and Deirdre really comforting to talk to. Meeting with them definitely reassured me and I’m sure other people felt that way too.”
Paris is a popular destination for Trinity Erasmus students, who are attending a number of universities in the city, including Paris-Sciences Po, Université Paris Diderot and Université Paris-Sorbonne.
The series of coordinated attacks, which took place on November 13 and were carried out by the Islamic State (IS) militant group, left 130 dead and hundreds more injured.