MU says students studying abroad in England safe during London riots

The university has yet to determine whether the fall London program will take place.

As riots spread through the city of London, a group of 12 MU students and two faculty members were a few hours away in Edinburgh, Scotland, MU spokesman Christian Basi said.

“We were keeping in contact with them, and everyone was safe throughout all of that,” Basi said.

Senior Ashley Crockett ended her program in London the day the riots began. She said she found out about the riots from the taxi driver bringing her to the airport. He had been late due to the rioting.

“He told me a man had been shot, supposedly by the police, which sparked the riots,” Crockett said in an email. “He told me he saw several police cars burning and had heard of a double-decker bus and piles of tires being set on fire.”

Crockett said at the time the riots were isolated to one area, so she did not have any concerns about getting home.

Although she was not in London for the majority of the riots, her experience there changed how she views the area today.

“The places affected weren't just random names in the news -- I'm familiar with a lot of them and knew exactly where looters had hit,” she said. “Whenever I hear about senseless violence, I of course worry about the safety of the people there, but it was much more real and intense because I actually know people living there. One of my friends posted on his Facebook that a lot of police were in the area around his flat because of more anticipated rioting.”

Basi said MU assesses any international crisis to figure out how to keep students safe.

“We stay in contact with our students anytime they are studying abroad, and we watch every situation internationally very closely,” Basi said. “If there is any threat to a student’s safety, we assess it and try to take the most appropriate action and in some cases that does mean making sure the student leaves the country safely."

He said MU is still deciding if the London study abroad program beginning in September will take place.

“We are watching very closely and staying in contact with the (United States) State Department, and we’ll make a decision based on the information we have as the program gets closer,” Basi said.

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