Bowling Green reacts to Belgium attacks

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - When word about the latest international terror attack spread, WKU immediately thought about students who were studying abroad.

Dr. Craig T. Cobane, Executive Director of the Honors College at WKU and Chief International Officer of Global Learning, said an extensive check allowed them to breathe a sigh of relief.

"We've got right around, just over 60 students who are in Europe right now. We have no one in Belgium, so no one in Brussels."

Even though WKU had done its homework and checked on each student, Cobane, who completed his dissertation on British Anti-Terrorism Policy in Northern Ireland, said terrorism was one of his smallest safety concerns when it came to study abroad.

"We also have to realize that, of all the sort of dangers out there in the world for students, terrorism's actually the most tiny one, but it's the one that gets the most publicity."

The International Center of Kentucky also offered their insight into the situation.

Albert Mbanfu, Executive Director of the center, said just because Bowling Green doesn't have Belgium refugees, that doesn't mean the terrorist attack won't affect other members of the city's international community.

"I guess the first idea or the first thought that comes to their mind is 'Oh my God, what will happen to us now?'"

Mbanfu told WBKO when multiple terror attacks are precipitated by members of a similar ethnic or religious group, it makes things difficult on people who come from those same backgrounds.

"For good or for bad, there are some people who will not know how to distinguish between people who come because they are fleeing persecution and just want to start their life over, and some isolated 'bad apples' that will be out there to cause havoc."

WKU's Dr. Cobane said going beyond that, he felt it was also important to remember that terror attacks are just as easily carried out on U.S. soil.

"The Oklahoma City bombings a couple years ago, which was an American, you know, a domestic terror attack. Is anybody saying 'I could never let my son or daughter go to Oklahoma, there's all this terrorism going on.' It's all perspective."

Cobane said he was confident the WKU community was prepared to handle whatever came their way, at home or abroad.

"The world is challenging out there, and we want to the best of our ability to make sure that we're preparing each of our faculty, staff and students to be safe."

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