A Freshman on an International College Campus on 9/11

Our younger son, David, was a freshman at Duke University in Fall of 2001. We had only been to the campus twice at that point and were still learning a lot about the school and the type of university it was. We did know, however, that it had a diverse international student population that included both Jews and Muslims.

It is important to the story to note that Duke actually has two campuses, about a mile and a half apart. The Freshmen have their own campus, their own food hall and their own dorms. The dorms there are rather small, four floor buildings with less than 100 students each.

With some concern and a couple days after the 9/11 tragedy, I called David to see how things were on campus. His answer wasn’t what I expected,

“Dad, I’m very safe in my dorm.”

“What does that mean?” He repeated himself and I stated emphatically that was an unacceptable answer, so he continued….

“Do you know the King of Jordan?” I did know the name, although it took me a moment to recall it, “King Abdulla?”

“Yes. Well you see, Dad….I am safe in my dorm because King Abdulla’s son is in my dorm.”

 He went on to tell me how those in his dorm had been encouraged not to broadcast that. His comment about being “safe” had to do with the extra people in his dorm who were not students.

The campus did experience heightened security, evidenced when David’s brother, John, drove to visit and couldn’t get on the campus until his brother came and got him.

Other than the temporary heightened security, campus life seemed to continue as normally as it could have been expected.


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