Over 100 members of the Columbia community attended a vigil held by the Columbia Maison Française in memory of the victims of Friday's terror attacks in Paris on Monday evening at Buell Hall.
The vigil—followed by a candlelit memorial outside of St. Paul's Chapel—is the second at Columbia since the attacks, preceded by a vigil held on Saturday night and hosted by General Studies Student Council, which also was attended by over 100 people.
Two administrators—Provost John Coatsworth and Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences David Madigan—also attended the event Monday evening.
"We're all deeply shaken to the core," Madigan told Spectator. "All we can do is be together and comfort each other."
Shanny Peer, the director of the Maison Française, said that the event, which was largely planned on Monday, was intended to provide a peaceful space for individuals affected or upset by the attacks to show their solidarity with victims.
"We wanted to create a space where people who feel concerned about the events, whether they have a connection to France or not, to be able to come together in a quiet moment," she said.
In this regard, Caio Ferreira, a second-year graduate student in the French department of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, felt that the vigil was successful.
"A lot of us have family in Paris, and we can't be there, and we can't be there with the people that went through this, that are going through this," he said, adding that the event "makes the distance a little bit smaller."
Peer said that rather than designate "official voices" to speak at the vigil, the choice was made to have live cello music performed throughout. Refreshments were offered to attendees, who, after a moment of silence, were encouraged to speak with each other about what had happened.
Dylan Sachs, BC '18, said that she felt that communication was especially important to bring students together after something so globally significant.
"I think that solidarity is something important," she said, adding, "I think that it's important that when there are people that are in need of some emotional support that we go, no matter what it is."
Peer emphasized the need for this communal support as individuals memorialize victims of the Paris attacks.
"We thought it was more important to create a space for people to come together and be with their own thoughts, but also with a community and have a sense of having a moment of reflection and solidarity."
For many of the assembled individuals, the vigil was clearly a quiet space for reflection, not only in regards to what happened on Friday, but also on what to think moving forward.
"Even if I can't change the events happening there. I think it's my duty to be knowledgeable about events going on in the world and to try and bring people together. I think it's great that this [the vigil] happened," Sachs said.
Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.