As the war in Iraq wages on, the university mechanism appears to whir at a steady click, according to various reports. Perhaps taking a cue from President William R. Brody, who has encouraged the JHU community not to alter their daily routines, it's mostly been a case of business-as-usual at Johns Hopkins.
However, for a conflict impossible to ignore, a tone of caution and concern exists.
The university has added a Web site www.jhu.edu/news/preparedness to provide easy access to war-related details. Included are links to emergency information, university statements, counseling and support services and national links.
At the Johns Hopkins Travel Center, scores of reservations on international flights have been canceled through to June. According to one agent, many of those who called to cancel expressed either a reluctance of being away from home during wartime, or concerns for personal safety related to being an American abroad.
In Homewood's Office of International Student and Scholar Services, staff are prompting students to keep current on their visas and carry all pertinent documentation in the event they travel, mindful of the severe penalties associated with losing student status and the stricter immigration practices inevitable during wartime.
Sharon Kugler, university chaplain, says that while students have gone about their routines the past few days, thoughts of war seem to be dwelling just below the surface.
"There are some among us who are simply struggling to understand how they truly feel about war and living in wartime," Kugler says. "This is a time of disbelief, stunned silence, worry, frustration and anguish as we struggle collectively to process all the information we are confronted with in the media as well as understand our own moral inclinations and feelings about this war. All of this appears to be happening right in parallel with the rigors of an academic schedule."
Lt. Col. Charles Roller, director of Johns Hopkins' Army ROTC, says his program has carried on with "normal operations" the past week, with cadets pacing themselves through the demands of academic life and ROTC leadership training activities.
Roller says if the cadets are curious or concerned about military operations in Iraq, they are keeping it mostly to themselves.
"We don't get a whole lot of questions about the current engagement," he says. "The war is on TV, so they, like all of us, can watch it as it unfolds."