Students and staff located at the Thailand campuses of two U.S. universities are safe, say officials. Richard Meyers, president of Webster University in St. Louis, Mo., issued a statement late yesterday assuring the higher ed community that its campuses, located in Bangkok and Cha-am/Hua Hin, were not impacted by the actions that toppled the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
This morning, administrators at Troy University (Ala.) also reassured the community that its students and staff are safe.
"Right now, there is no affect on our Thailand operations," said Clif Lusk, university relations coordinator. Phil Lyon, Troy's interim director of international programs who is based in South Korea, will continue to monitor the situation, added Lusk.
"Webster University-Thailand Director Kit Jenkins reports that the situation appears to be safe and calm. There are no reports of violence or bloodshed linked to the coup," Meyers wrote yesterday. At this point all faculty and staff members are accounted for, but Webster personnel will need additional time to make contact with all Webster University-Thailand students, he added. More time is needed to make contact because landline and cellphone tele0phone service has been disrupted by the political coup. Webster's Cha-am/Hua Hin campus enrolls 200 students; the Bangkok campus has 50 students.
"Our students in Bangkok are working adults from Thailand and making emergency contacts for those students was not necessary. The Bangkok campus was closed all day. Our students in Cha'am and Hua Hin are three and a half hours by car from Bangkok. Their classes were cancelled but the campus remained opened. We have provided 24-hour communication for parents of our traditional age students who have contacted my office and others at the university with questions," Meyers wrote.
Webster included news dispatches from the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, along with Meyers' remarks. "Earlier this week a group calling itself the Committee for Democratic Reform seized control of the government institutions in Bangkok and declared martial law," said the statement. Currently, the U.S. government is not asking Americans to leave Thailand.