UF professors in Brussels during terrorism attacks
Published March 22nd, 2016
BRUSSELS--Two University of Florida professors were in Brussels, Belgium at the time of the terrorism attacks and are currently still in the area.
Dean of the UF International Center Dr. Leo Villalon and Warrington College of Business professor Dr. Robert Knechel are both doing well and were not injured, but Dr. Knechel had an eventful time once his plane landed.
"And then all of a sudden, some airport person came in and waving his arms saying, you have to get off, you have to get off, quickly, quickly," Dr. Knechel recalls.
Dr. Knechel was on the other side of the terminal when the explosions went off and says he was never in any danger, but it was certainly too close for comfort.
"You could hear the alarm. The emergency vehicles just did not stop. We landed at 8:00 and I finally got out of the area by about noon. So, it was just non-stop emergency vehicles," explains Dr. Knechel.
Dr. Villalon was in his hotel when the explosions went off. He traveled to Brussels to give a seminar at a local university today, but was unable to do so when the university closed in lightof the terror attacks.
"There's no banner going out, but authorities are very much encouraging people, the government is encouraging people, to avoid public spaces and try to stay in. There's no public transport, there's no taxis, no buses, no trans or metro. The train stations are closed," describes Dr. Villalon of the city.
UF has a system in place so they know exactly how to contact any faculty or students who are traveling overseas.
"When our faculty do travel abroad as well as our students, we require them to register with the international center so that we know where they are and know how to reach them and that we can provide assistance if it is necessary," says Steve Orlando, UF spokesperson
It is unclear when public transportation will resume normal activity so for now, the UF professors have to sit tight.
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