Official student paper at university blames counting error for plan to honor 9/11 hijackers
The official student newspaper at George Mason University had planned to honor the 9/11 hijackers along with victims as part of a candlelight vigil on Tuesday, but later reversed the decision saying they had accidently counted the perpetrators among the victims.
A post appearing in the local newspaper and on the student paper’s official Facebook page indicated early on Monday organizers planned to light 2,996 candles during memorial service sponsored by the student paper The Broadside, for Tuesday evening. That figure represents the 2,977 innocent civilians who perished in the 2001 attacks along with the 19 hijackers.
Multiple students responded to this news on Facebook.
“Why does your event include the Hijackers in your count?” asked student Tyler Spires.
“Can you explain why the event originally said ‘We will have 2,996 luminaries displayed to honor each person who lost their life on that tragic day eleven years ago.’, which included the hijackers?” asked another student, Ashley Rae.
University spokesperson Catherine Probst initially defended the paper’s decision, telling Campus Reform that the organizers happened to possess 19 extra candles which they did not want to waste.
“They had extra candles,” said Probst. “Then they realized that was the number of people who died including the hijackers so they decided not to light those and they are just going to go with 2,977.”
The editor-in-chief of The Broadside, Cody Norman, later clarified, however, telling Campus Reform they had simply used the wrong figure of casualties when calculating the number of candles they would need.
“We went back and double checked the numbers and overlooked the 2,996 [figure] did include the hijackers and deducted it from our count,” said Norman.
The Broadside, however, did previously get the 9/11 death count right. In this year’s “September 11th Commemorative issue,” they printed that 2,977 is “the number of victims who lost their lives as a result of the attacks on 9/11.”
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