Heightened Security Keeps Upstate Students From Class Following Paris Attacks

Two upstate college students that were visiting Paris when the terror attacks struck still haven’t made it back to their school in Brussels.

Heightened security around Paris has forced the two Furman University students to stay with another class.

7 news learned these two students, Chelsey Dawson and her friend Carsyn were on a weekend trip in Paris as the aftermath of the terror attacks was unfolding Friday.  Both connected quickly with their class in Brussels that night and were taken to safety.

“While we were there, there were dozens of police and military armed officials everywhere. They had dogs,” Dawson described.

Closed borders and heightened security has kept the two students from returning to their school. Now they’re staying with another class in a safe location in Versaille.

“They were stopping cars. They were stopping busses and the bus terminal closed down, they weren’t able to get a bus they were scheduled on. They had to walk,” said Brent Nelsen, a Political Science Professor for Furman, also in Brussels.

Over the weekend, Chelsey says the atmosphere around Paris dramatically changed. “They were questioning why you were trying to enter and then when you put your bag through security, the day before it was barely looked at but on Saturday when we sent our bags through the conveyor belt, they were highly scrutinized.”

Some Furman students in other parts of Europe didn’t find out about the attacks until hours later because their lack of cell and internet service. “There are people back home saying are you okay? And they go, why? Is there something going on we don’t know about? And they found out about the attacks,” explained Nelsen.

Furman University Professor Brent Nelson says the whole group isn’t scheduled to come back to the US until mid-December and for now, they don’t expect to change their plans.

“We certainly don’t want terrorists to dictate our lives,” said Nelsen. “Of course we are evaluating every day. New information may emerge where we might have to make a decision to come home.”

The Furman professor says classes and activities will resume Monday for all other students in Brussels.

The two students that were in Paris say they hope to make their way back to Brussels by Monday.

“Paris has been through terrible things in its history. This is one terrible thing but it will definitely rebound,” added Nelsen about Paris’ condition.

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