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University of Calgary students in Nice safe after terrorist attack

By Scott Strasser, July 20 2016 —

Seven University of Calgary students who were in Nice, France during a terrorist attack on July 14 are reported safe and accounted for.

The students were participating in an entrepreneurship program organized by the European Innovation Academy in Nice from July 3–22 when the attack occurred.

The U of C is one of three Canadian universities that participated in the summer innovation program, along with MacEwan University and Wilfred Laurier University.

On July 20, French authorities confirmed that fourth-year MacEwan University student Mykhaylo Bazelevskyy was among those killed in the attack. Bazelevskyy was participating in the same entrepreneurship program as the U of C students.

According to the U of C, the seven students were offered post-trauma counselling support and assistance returning to Canada, if requested.

Following the attack, the U of C lowered its Canadian flag on campus to half-mast to commemorate the victims.

“On behalf of the University of Calgary community, I offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed in this tragedy,” U of C President Elizabeth Cannon said in a statement. “Our university has strong ties to France and we stand in solidarity with the French people.”

The U of C’s risk management and insurance team established an international travel registration system for all students participating in travel study programs. Cannon credited the system for helping locate and account for the students.

“I want to thank members of our risk management team and the involved faculties for their efforts to contact our students and account for each one,” Cannon said in the statement.

Colleen Packer, manager of international learning programs at the U of C, said the university takes student safety abroad very seriously.

“Thanks to the amazing people in our department of risk management and insurance, we have multiple layers of support available to all students, faculty, and staff who go abroad on a University of Calgary program,” Packer said. “We’re partnered with a service called International SOS, which provides everything from detailed, country-specific health and safety information, English-speaking medical, dental and counselling referrals, emergency translation and interpretation services and emergency evacuation.”

The Nice terrorist attack resulted in 84 people killed and more than 300 injured after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a cargo truck through large crowds celebrating Bastille Day on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais.

The Nice tragedy was the third major terrorist attack to occur in France since January 2015, following the Île-de-France attacks in January 2015 and the Paris attacks in November 2015.

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