U Professors Cancel Classes

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Music Professor John Costa started his rock and roll history class Tuesday morning at 9:10, discussing the latest developments in the attack on the U.S. Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

After a few minutes of discussion, Costa tried to shift the conversation to music by pulling books and notes out of his bag and placing them on the table.

But Costa never gave his lesson on rock and roll. Instead he invited all students to contact a loved one, Costa said.

“I felt that if I held class it would have been almost disrespectful. I think people need to understand the magnitude of the things that happened,” said Costa.

Tom Clag, a junior in political science who is in Costa’s class, agreed that dismissing class was the best thing to do.

“It was one of those days where you just couldn’t conduct business as usual,” he said.

But not all University of Utah faculty and staff agree with Costa’s decision.

History Professor Ronald Smelser taught two classes Tuesday. He said he held classes because he did not have any reason not to.

Classes provide just what is needed??focus and clear thinking,? Smelser said.

U President Bernie Machen’s statement said classes will be held and events will continue as scheduled until further notice.

The statement also said, “Administrators and student leaders are, of course, encouraged to exercise their own good judgement relative to these normal activities, recognizing the need for discussion and personal time away from normal activities to check on loved ones.”

Professor of Anthropology James O’Connell canceled his anthropology class. He put a note on the door to inform the 30 registered students of the change.

“I didn’t think people would be able to focus on the material,” he said. “Everyone is shocked.”

U theatre Chairman David Dynak said his department is trying to move forward. In class, students and faculty can work through this together.

“It’s a tragedy for all of us, but we are trying to keep classes open. [Class] will be different, but at least there will still be support from friends.”

As Dean of the School of Business, Jack Brittain decided to poll faculty and staff to find who had family or friends in New York or Washington, D.C. If an instructor wished to cancel the class, he or she did not have to show up. If a teacher did not show up for the first ten minutes, the students were told to assume the class had been canceled, Brittain said.

“Psychologically, we’re stunned. It’s just something you hope you never have to deal with,” Brittain said.

The Daily Utah Chronicle was unable to determine the number of classes canceled because that decision was made by professors, not by departments or colleges.

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