Fortunately for the Lipscomb community, all 11 students that recently traveled to London are safe and accounted for, per university President Randy Lowry via an email statement sent to faculty and staff on Friday.
London is reeling after a bombing at the Parsons Green Underground Station yesterday — Britain’s fifth terror incident this year. 29 people were injured in the attack, but according to the BBC, none appear to be life-threatening.
The “Lipscomb in London” group was on a train to Edinburgh, Scotland, at the time of the attack. Lowry also noted that Parsons Green is on the opposite side of town from where the group is housed in Islington.
“The incident occurred nearly an hour’s commute away from where the ‘Lipscomb in London’ students reside during the semester-long program,” Lowry said. “We have been in contact with families to assure them of their child’s safety.”
Robyn Shannon, a sophomore from Hendersonville, said the group was initially shocked to hear the news, as they had spent Thursday in Notting Hill, which is also located in West London. However, the incident is not stopping Shannon and her classmates from getting the most of their stay in the English capital.
“We still feel safe enough to travel within London,” Shannon said. “We know this could happen anywhere, and we don’t want fear to stop us from experiencing a different culture.”
Ally Whiting, a sophomore from Colorado Springs, Colorado, said their distance from the attack also helped to ease nerves – including those of family and friends.
“The distance has helped us all react calmly to (the bombing),” Whiting said. “There wasn’t a feeling like we were unsafe because we were out of the city.”
Lowry and the Lipscomb administration are keeping close tabs on London to ensure the safety of students.
“Lipscomb continues to monitor the situation in collaboration with our on-the-ground security contacts in Europe and our international security partner as well as monitoring of U.S. State Department information,” Lowry said.
The Office of Global Learning did not respond to request for comment, but no immediate action was taken to alter any plans of the Lipscomb group.
Friday’s event was another in a long saga of incidents in the United Kingdom this year. A horrific attack occurred in Westminster last March and – two months later – on London Bridge in May, when eight people were killed and 48 injured by a van that ran over pedestrians.
As of early Saturday morning, the London police were conducting a manhunt for the suspect linked to the Parsons Green attack. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Shannon said the string of attacks has not deterred the group from enjoying their learning experience.
“From our short time here, we’ve learned how unique London is to the rest of the world,” she said. “We’ve enjoyed getting to know the diverse culture and want to continue to explore it with open eyes.”
Lowry echoed those sentiments and asked for prayers for all Lipscomb students.
“We are grateful for the many learning opportunities our students experience as we view the world as our classroom, but we are also mindful of the reality in which we exist,” Lowry said. “I ask that you continue to pray for all of our students — at home and abroad — for a safe and rewarding semester.”
Whiting echoed those sentiments and mentioned how resilient London has been throughout a tough year.
“London is a resilient city that will come back stronger for this,” Whiting said. “We all feel very at ease there, and I don’t think (the attack) will impact that.”