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BP opens blog for Union Univ. updates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Baptist Press has created a blog site for news and updates from Union University, which sustained severe damage in a Feb. 5 tornado.

The blog site, which will be updated as information is received, can be accessed at www.bpnews.net/blog/, or simply by going to Baptist Press’ homepage and clicking the “Union University Tornado Updates” in the upper right hand corner. An RSS feed also is available.

Currently, the blog site’s lead item is the Baptist Press Breaking News story, which follows:


JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Fifty-one students were treated for injuries and nine were kept overnight in a local hospital after a tornado wreaked havoc on the campus of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., Feb. 5.

All students have been accounted for and, while some of the injuries were serious, none were life threatening, Union President David S. Dockery said in a news conference early the next morning.

The men’s and women’s residential complexes were almost completely destroyed, and the roof was torn off a main academic building, Dockery said. He recalled a 2002 tornado that struck the campus, causing $2.6 million in damage, and said this one was “15 times worse than that.”

Twelve students were trapped in residence halls by storm damage, but the vast majority of the estimated 1,000 students on campus followed the university’s emergency plan and escaped serious injury.

“It’s a miracle of the Lord more people weren’t injured,” Union journalism professor Michael Chute told Baptist Press. “The damage to the residence halls looks as bad as the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City when it was bombed. Walls were just ripped off.”

As many as 3,300 students had been on campus earlier in the day before classes dismissed, Chute said. The tornado struck about 7 p.m.

Faculty and staff met students at a shopping center across from the campus to register them as safe and match them with volunteers in the community who were willing to take them in, Chute said. Local churches mobilized buses to take students to host homes.

Classes initially were cancelled for the remainder of the week, but university officials have now announced that they will not resume before Feb. 18.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston, with reporting by assistant editor Mark Kelly.

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