September 11, 2001: Columbia Law School Responds

September 11, 2001

                Early on the morning of September 11, Columbia Law School students began taking their seats in classrooms, opening textbooks, and readying their pens and laptops. For most, it was only the second week of regular classes, a time still perhaps for deciding which courses to take or, for first-year students, getting used to the new language of law. A bright and warm fall morning, it seemed a day like many others.

                Eight and a half miles south of Morningside Heights, it was rapidly becoming clear that September 11 would not be a day like any other. By a little after 9:00 a.m., commercial jetliners, commandeered by terrorists, had slammed into each of the World Trade Center towers, sending out flares of fire and shafts of smoke that could be seen for miles. It did not take long for news of this atrocity to reach the Law School community, and, within minutes, administrators, faculty, and students were mobilizing in various ways to do all they could to deal with the situation.

                Dean David Leebron was called out of his torts class and returned to his office to find a group gathered around the television, stunned at the news that one of the towers had collapsed. Shortly thereafter, the second tower fell. Law School classes were immediately cancelled for the remainder of the day. Classrooms, the Lenfest Café, and the Dean's Office were converted into gathering places where news could be gleaned from televisions or projection screens. Within the hour, President George Rupp convened a University-wide meeting with all deans and senior administrators representing virtually all University services, from health to student counseling to security.

                The immediate priorities were securing the campus, communicating with students, faculty, and staff, and determining what assistance the Law School could provide. Dean Leebron sent an e-mail to all staff and students and later posted a similar message on the School's Web site. Vice Dean Jim Hoover assumed the leadership role in coordinating efforts both within the Law School and with the University. Faculty and senior administrators made themselves visible and available to students. Vice Deans Peter Strauss and Michael Dorf, in particular, provided critical advice in these efforts. The Office of Student Services, led by Assistant Dean Shannon Salinas, coordinated communications with and services for the students.

                LL.M. students, most newly arrived in New York from all over the world, were of special concern. EVorts were made, primarily by the graduate students themselves, to track each other down and assure people were safe and well. The Office of Graduate Students, under the leadership of Assistant Dean Alice Haemmerli '90, repeatedly met with the students to reassure them that Columbia remained a safe and welcoming environment.

                A special message was sent out to the 8,000 alumni/ae for whom the School had an e-mail address. The message asked the graduates to communicate with us about anyone they knew who might have been injured. A notice was also placed in the New York Law Journal expressing concern for our graduates. As the days unfolded, the Law School learned the sad fact that it had lost three alumni/ae: Arlene E. Fried '93, Matthew G. Leonard '87, and Paul A. Acquaviva '97. All had worked at the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald in Tower One. The turnout at their memorial services attested to the staggering impact of these losses on our community.

                The Student Senate, led by its President Hanna Rogers '02, set up a table for fundraising purposes; by the end of the week, more than $10,000 for victims of the attacks had been raised. Together with Dean Leebron and Assistant Dean Salinas, the senate organized an open forum two days following the attack to address any questions or concerns from students and other members of the community. The University chaplain and the head of campus security also made themselves available for the forum so that the members of the Law School community could be fully informed about University efforts and services. The primary question posed by the students was, "What can we do to help the victims?"

                The Law School reached out to offer help to other law schools, law firms, and legal organizations directly displaced or severely affected by the attack. Clerks of judges on the Second Circuit, attorneys from the New York Attorney General's Office, and legal aid lawyers all availed themselves of the School's facilities within days. The Law School's alumni/ae community lent a hand, as well: Many gave blood, while others extended support to victims and their families. Abraham D. Piontnica '91, a lawyer and a member of the Hatzolah Volunteer Ambulance Corporation, became an impromptu medic, ministering to dozens of people who emerged alive from the towers as well as rescuing workers directly. Susan C. Waltman '77, senior vice president and general counsel for the Greater New York Hospital Association, helped coordinate hundreds of hospitals' emergency plans, worked extensively with New York City's Office of Emergency Management to discuss what resources area hospitals required, and set up a hotline for victims' families to call regarding the status of their loved ones. Evan Davis '69, president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, led that organization's remarkable service in bringing together legal assistance efforts throughout the city and in providing training for lawyers who desired to help the victims of the attacks.

                The University-wide coordinating group, largely out of concern for many students who might otherwise feel isolated off campus, decided to resume classes on September 12. At the Law School, many professors devoted all or part of their classes on that day to discussion of the events. Faculty members discussed with each other how they might respond to the event in their classes and the emotional turmoil sure to follow in the attacks' aftermath. Columbia faculty were widely quoted in the press about the events, and three professors - Vivian Berger '73, George Fletcher, and Jeremy Waldron - published articles on the subject in periodicals ranging from the London Review of Books to the National Law Journal.

                A week after the attack, Assistant Dean Ellen Chapnick, director of the Law School's Center for Public Interest Law, reached out to numerous public interest, bar association, and governmental organizations to offer student legal assistance and to help coordinate efforts to provide legal services to the victims. Several days later she conducted a forum to inform students about how they could help provide legal services to the victims. More than a hundred students expressed interest.

                Talk of the terrorist attacks will reverberate for a long time along the hallways of  Columbia Law School, but in October and November, the discussions shifted from the catastrophe itself to how the events of September 11 will affect U.S. and international law. In early October, students organized a dinner at which representatives from student organizations described their viewpoints on the attack's legacy. Later that month, three well attended fora were held to discuss different aspects of the assault. The fora were the result of a dialogue Dean Leebron began with faculty shortly after September 11 on how an intellectual response might take place at the Law School. The fora addressed three different aspects of the attacks: the fight against terrorism and its human rights implications; legal implications of the domestic response; and legal implications of the international response. Excerpts of these panel discussions are included in these pages; for a full text, please go to the Law School's Web page.

                Although by all appearances the University and the Law School have returned to normal, the events of September 11, and their still unfolding consequences, are never far from our minds.

                "It is times like these that test the true spirit and will of a great nation and people, and our commitment to the values that we so easily hold under less challenging circumstances," said Dean Leebron. "I am extremely proud of both the Columbia community's and the legal profession's response, and know that both these groups will play important roles as we continue to address the issues posed by the grave dangers that confront us."

Back to top

Fora Address Different Aspects of the September 11 Attacks

The Law School held three fora to examine aspects of the events of September 11 and how they affect the law. The program, "The September 11 Attacks: Legal Implications of the Domestic and International Response," was held in Jerome Greene Hall on three separate afternoons in early October. The first forum was sponsored by the Human Rights Institute  and the Center for Public Interest Law, while the other two were sponsored by the Law School. The comments of panelists appear on the following pages in condensed form. To read a complete transcript of the event, please click here:

Forum 1: The Fight Against Terrorism and Its Human Rights Implications

Ellen Chapnick
Director of the Center for Public Interest Law

David Cole
Professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center

Michael Ratner '69
Vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a lecturer-in-law at Columbia

Professor David Cole - A Broad-Brush Tactic in the Name of Security Will Not Work

                We need a measured response that will make us secure but that is also consistent with America's commitment to constitutional principles. Historically, in times of fear or war, we have often overreacted. During World War I, people who spoke out against the war were locked up and, during World War II, Japanese citizens on the West Coast were interned solely for their national origin.

                My sense is that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies missed entirely forecasting the attacks of September 11 not because the government lacked sufficient power and authority to conduct surveillance or act against terrorists, but because of a failure of coordination among intelligence agencies. My fear is that the Bush administration is seeking legislation not directed at ending these turf wars among surveillance agencies, but simply at increasing the government's surveillance power. For example, the administration seeks new authority to deport any alien who has ever given aid to an organization that has ever engaged in violent activity, irrespective of the individual's intent. That means that someone who gave a donation to the African National Congress (ANC) today would be deportable, because 15 years ago, the ANC fought apartheid with violent (as well as peaceful and lawful) means. The Bush administration is also seeking to expand the government's authority to conduct wiretaps by using a kind of end run around the criminal probable cause requirement, relying instead on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which does not require probable cause of criminal activity.

                Are these measures consistent with our principles? I think not. Will they make us more secure? I doubt it. England and Israel, for example, which have long had policies of guilt by association, did not begin to reduce the threat of terrorism until they started to negotiate through the peace process. Most troubling of all, these Bush initiatives, in effect, trade other people's liberties, mainly those of immigrants and Arabs and Muslims, for the security of the majority. These kinds of broad-brush tactics run the risk of alienating the Arab and Muslim communities when, in reality, the government will need the assistance of the millions of law-abiding Arab Americans to help identify future threats.

Michael Ratner - The Danger of Responding with Force

                I am critical of the congressional resolution giving President Bush open ended power to attack an enemy whose identity and location are not delineated. It allows him to attack anybody he wants at his own discretion and contains no time limit. The use of military force is going to make us less safe and create more terrorists. It has the potential to seriously destabilize Islamic regimes, such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which have large numbers of people who revere Osama bin Laden. In addition, the chances of finding bin Laden are very slim, and military force, such as bombing, is unlikely to eliminate his terrorist network. It is going to dramatically worsen the refugee situation in Afghanistan and many will die.

                The building of a military coalition is also requiring the United States to make alliances with countries, such as Indonesia, that activists have long been arguing should not receive aid because of repression of their own citizens. And, finally, where is the evidence against bin Laden? Secretary of State Powell said he would produce a paper demonstrating bin Laden's responsibility for the attacks, but it never appeared.

                My proposal is to treat these attacks as criminal acts, crimes against humanity, and not as acts of war. Then find the perpetrators, request the U.N. Security Council to form an ad hoc court similar to those used for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and hold a trial. It is not the perfect solution, but better than the course our nation has embarked upon. The United States must begin to understand that it is a part of a world of nations and that even as the super-power it should not and cannot engage in unilateral actions.

Forum 2: Legal Implications of the Domestic Response

Prof. Michael Dorf

Prof. Jeffrey Fagan
Prof. Kimberlé Crenshaw
Prof. Debra Livingston

Professor Jeffrey Fagan - The Danger of Stigma in the Name of Security

                Before the events of September 11, our society was just beginning to be made aware of the problems of racial profiling. Not only is it ineffective, but it doesn't seem to have any discernable returns in crime control. Secondly, it stigmatizes and demoralizes an entire population so that the population disengages itself from civil society. It loses a sense of the legitimacy in policing and in the courts and withdraws cooperation from those groups.

                Unfortunately, in the wake of the events of September 11, a Gallup poll showed that 49 percent of the public would support measures to require Middle Eastern people to carry special identification cards. And 58 percent of those surveyed said Middle Easterners should be subjected to more specific checks at airports.

                Should we now accept proposals that probably on September 10 would have been rejected? Such measures would have been ineffective on September 11, and will be ineffective if not counterproductive today. To locate terrorists in our neighborhoods, we will need the commitment and help of folks who live in those neighborhoods. We can't risk the idea of alienating them.

Kimberlé Crenshaw - Will the Law Be Silent in the War on Terrorism?

                The terrorism that shattered the lives of thousands of Americans did not begin and end on September 11. In the immediate aftermath, a distinctly domestic form of terrorism exploded, claiming as its victims people who are or who appear to be of Arab descent. Two men were shot dead, and women in hijab or wearing bindis have been spat upon and beaten. Cabbies have been assaulted; children have been harassed not only by other children, but by other parents and teachers as well. Homes have been vandalized, and mosques and businesses have been firebombed.  This violence has not been discriminate: Not only have Arab Americans been targeted, but Indians, Pakistanis, North Africans, African Americans, Filipinos and Latinos, as well.

                President Bush condemned such acts in his September visit to the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., declaring such actions to be inconsistent with the America he knew. His message of non-discrimination sounded a high note, but it begged a question for America's lawyers and legal scholars. As the guardians of institutions that are the repositories of our deepest values, can we in truth say that these actions are not American, that there are in place real, substantive protections to ensure that racial discrimination - both private and public - will not be tolerated in this declared war?  Have we learned lessons from past wars to ensure that the harms perpetrated in the pursuit of other wars will not be visited upon citizens, residents, and immigrants of Arab descent in this moment?

                I worry that the answer to this is no. Drawing lessons from the war on drugs, the Cold War, World War II, and the aftermath of our own Civil War, it is apparent that there is a troubling disjuncture between President Bush's articulated desire to affirm higher values of nondiscrimination and the existence of a firm moral commitment and accompanying legal tools to prevent it. In all our previous wars, harms against racial and political minorities have occurred and might well occur again. No constitutional rules fully prohibit the use of race in profiling, and the use of race as part of the investigation of actual suspects is broadly practiced. The holding of Korematsu v. the United States permitting mass detention of Japanese Americans [during World War II] has never been overturned. Practices from other wars are similarly disturbing and provide little solace for Americans who find themselves targeted in the war on terrorism. It has been repeated recently that in war, law is silent. What price might we pay as a society if our law remains silent in the face of racial discrimination in the war against terrorism?

Debra Livingston - Linking Law Enforcement and Intelligence Communities to Fight Terrorism Sets New Precedents

                Legislation now being considered by Congress will change existing law with regard to electronic surveillance in the United States. The proposed changes represent an attempt to provide a better domestic response to the threat posed by terrorism. The changes cover a variety of subjects. Many of them, however, are directed at one goal: to make it easier for the intelligence community (responsible for the country's national security position) and criminal justice community (responsible for the bringing of criminal cases) to work more seamlessly with each other. The proposed legislation contemplates that in this area these communities can and should work as partners, sharing information and using shared information to prevent future occurrences of terrorism.

                This closer cooperation would be a big change primarily because two distinct statutes on surveillance have governed these two communities. Criminal justice matters are governed by a statute called Title III, which imposes warrant and multiple probable cause requirements on criminal investigators. A different statute - the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) - governs the actions of groups involved in protecting national security. One significant way FISA differs from Title III is that it allows for some warrantless electronic surveillance involving official foreign powers when there is no significant likelihood that such surveillance will intercept communications of U.S. persons. In addition, FISA warrants are issued on somewhat less stringent standards than traditional criminal warrants. A Title III warrant can authorize interception for no more than 30 days (absent an extension), while a FISA warrant can last up to 90 days - and under proposed legislation, can issue for a period of up to one year.

                The legislation before Congress sets up a means for national security personnel to obtain FISA warrants and to engage in foreign intelligence surveillance even when criminal prosecution is a significant goal of the interception. The information from such surveillance can be used in criminal prosecutions, so long as foreign intelligence gathering was one of the purposes - as opposed to the single or overriding purpose - for the interception. The proposed legislation also makes it easier for the intelligence and law enforcement communities to share information obtained through electronic surveillance.

                Now called to work together, the criminal justice and intelligence communities will face new challenges. For example, federal grand juries, prosecutors, and law enforcement agents, who have not had to focus on preventing harm in the immediate future as a principal aspect of their jobs, will now have to think in those terms. How do we ensure that the information uncovered in a criminal investigation is rapidly disseminated, as necessary, to prevent threatened occurrences? In this context, I think we are going to see a move toward more rapid investigation, more search and seizure, and also investigation that may not be principally about bringing offenders to justice, as opposed to avoiding immediate harms.

Forum 3: Legal Implications of the International Response

Prof. José Alvarez

Prof. Oscar Schachter '39
Prof. Lori Fisler Damrosch
Visiting Prof. Eyal Benvenisti

Professor Oscar Schachter - Armed Attack and the Right to Self Defense 

                Terrorism is not a new subject, and it has often been difficult to arrive at a general definition of what it is. On the other hand, it's never been difficult to recognize a particular act as terroristic.

                There is a general view that the United States has been subject to an armed attack (in the sense of U.N. Article 51) and this provides for the right of self defense. However, in this case, they are individuals guilty of a heinous criminal act which is a universal crime subjecting them to criminal penalties in all countries. The United States and its allies consider that the Afghan government  harboring  and protecting the suspected terrorist gang are not only violating international law, but are in effect armed attackers against whom force may be used as part of self-defense under international law, including the laws of war.

                However, self-defense is subject to requirements of necessity and proportionality. These broad terms impose limits on the use of force, and in particular, raise questions as to the bombing of cities and civilian facilities. While the Security Council has the legal authority to impose limits on the United States and other countries, the unanimity rule (i.e., the veto) ensures that the U.S. actions will not be condemned by the Council.

Professor Lori Fisler Damrosch - What Military Powers Are Conferred on an American President in a Time of Crisis

                NATO has concluded that the individuals who carried out the attacks of September 11 belonged to a worldwide terrorist network and that the attacks were directed from outside the United States. Thus the attacks were covered by Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more NATO members shall be considered an attack against them all. The next question is, What, if anything, does Article 5 commit the other NATO members to do?

                First, the United States has to request what it wants its alliance partners to do. Second, while all NATO members have supported the United States morally and politically, lending military assistance is another matter. Only some were asked, and only some agreed to give military aid. Furthermore, for some NATO partners, such as Germany, the dispatch of troops outside the NATO area to a place like Afghanistan requires parliamentary approval.

                Another very different question involving the use of military force is purely domestic. It concerns the American president's commander-in-chief powers and the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which was adopted at the height of the long-running controversy about whether Congress has a constitutional responsibility to participate in decisions to use force and, if so, whether Congress had adequately exercised that responsibility. In the current conflict, there are no such doubts. Under the emergency conditions of September 11, the Constitution contemplates that the president has full authority to take urgent protective actions in defense of U.S. territory.

                Arguably, the president's powers, under the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, last for as long as necessary to end the national emergency created by the attack. But, we have something more here, which is that Congress assembled almost immediately after September 11 and did adopt a specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. This is a way of saying that in this case the Congress exercised its shared constitutional responsibility. This is only the third time this has been done, the last time being an open-ended authorization to engage in military action against Iraq in 1991. So we now have a president acting at the height of his commander-in-chief powers, combined with powers conferred on him by Congress. His authority is at its maximum.

                Now that the president has the right to use force, the question can be asked whether there are non-forcible means to achieve the same objective. As a lawyer, I do not think there is anything that remains to be done as a legal requirement to put the United States in a lawful position to make a military response. For the past three years, the U.N. Security Council has been mandating non-forcible measures against Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to end the harboring of terrorist organizations. The Security Council has tried many means, including economic sanctions and the freezing of assets, obviously without success.

Visiting Professor Eyal Benvenisti - The Protection of Civilians in Time of Conflict

                The laws of war regarding the protection of civilians are quite clear, but what is often less clear is the applicability to a specific conflict. Why so? Because international law distinguishes not between war and peace, but between "international armed conflict" and other conflict, such as civil wars.

                It is a difficult issue with the Taliban, since that government is not widely recognized around the world and thus one can call into question whether this is an international armed conflict. However, as long as the Taliban effectively controls an area which is under attack, and there is no other government that has invited the United States to intervene, this qualifies as an international armed conflict.

                So what about the protection of civilians? The most you can expect from a law that was made by governments that want to protect themselves is that the protection of civilians is of great importance - but only as much as military necessity permits. All sides are required to maintain the distinction between soldiers and civilians. The fact that one side does not maintain a distinction between military personnel and civilians - and in fact blends in with the civilian population - does not release the other side from its duty to protect civilians.

                This yields clear rules and vaguer standards. By clear rules, I mean that you cannot attack hospitals, homes, or places devoted to religion or art. Neither can you attack dams and power plants that serve the civilian population. The vague standards, however, are often subject to the discretion of the attacker. For example, an indiscriminate attack includes one that may cause incidental loss which would be excessive when compared to the military advantage of the attack. Also, what weapons and targets are legitimate?

                For example, the United Kingdom's position relating to the discretion of military commanders states that those who are in charge of planning and executing the attacks have to reach decisions based on their assessment of the information from sources that are available to them prior to the attack. Given this rule, if you are wise afterwards, it doesn't work. What is important is the amount of evidence you have at the time of attack.


Back to top

Columbia Faculty Speak Out to The Press and Public

Columbia professors were active participants in the dialogue following the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Professor Vivian Berger's article "Every Generation Faces its Moment of Truth" was published on September 24 in the National Law Journal.

Vivian Berger

                I will remember where I was at the start of the business day on September 11th, 2001. I will also remember where I wasn't.   Like all the Sixties' folk I know, I remember where I was and what I was doing on November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was shot. Because I entered the underground stacks of Harvard's main library around lunchtime (when word was just beginning to get out) and did not emerge until dinner time, I was likely the last American outside of a coal mine to hear of the tragedy. (In one of those bizarre synchronicities between history and private events, I had been writing a paper on "When Lilacs Last by the Dooryard Bloomed," Walt Whitman's poem on President Lincoln's funeral cortege.)

                Similarly, an earlier generation doubtless recalls its whereabouts when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor - the act that launched the United States into World War II.

                Today, I happened to be at a bar committee meeting in Midtown New York when I learned about the hijacker "kamikaze" attacks on the World Trade Center towers. Yesterday morning I was conducting a mediation at the World Trade Center. In scheduling the case, I had offered the parties a choice of several days - one of which was September 11; luckily, they found the 10th more convenient. I suppose I will always think of September 11th as the day I wasn't at the World Trade Center.

                In reacting to disaster, people think first about its personal impact on them, and so did I. But as the initial shock wears off and I hear of additional terrorist attacks, even on the Pentagon, I wonder whether our government will treat this day's events as an act of war and, if so, whom we'll attack and when. My parents, refugees from Hitler, spent many nights cowering in bomb shelters in London. Although I doubt it will come to that, never again will I bask in the thought "It can't happen here." As a friend said to me: "I now know what it's like to be an Israeli."

                But we are, in fact, Americans, and what I fear is what will happen in our daily lives - especially in cities. Will we fly when we don't absolutely have to? Can we comfortably visit (let alone, work in) government buildings, sports arenas, and other places where crowds may attract fanatics aiming for high body counts? To what extent will we sacrifice our civil liberties, as we attempt to protect ourselves against unknown enemies around the globe? Compared to the architects of today's multiple horrors, Timothy McVeigh, our homegrown terrorist, seems a rank amateur.

                When I entered the subway after my meeting, strangers were excitedly talking with each other. A transit workman inveighed against the "foreigners" in the United States, such as the residents of Chinatown; he said they should stay in their own countries. I told him I sincerely doubted that the Chinese, here or abroad, had anything to do with today's events. But what if he had said Arabs?

                The way in which we handle our grief, anxiety, and rage in the wake of this domestic Pearl Harbor will say a lot about who we are. The authorities must find the responsible parties and make them pay dearly for this outrage. At the same time, we must avoid mindless scapegoating and blunderbuss attacks (by ourselves) against our cherished freedoms. I believe Americans can rise to the challenge. But it won't be easy.

Alumni/ae Included Among September 11 Fund President and Board Members

                Franklin A. Thomas '63, former president of the Ford Foundation, was appointed on October 16 to the chairmanship of the September 11 Fund. The fund, jointly created by the United Way of New York City and the New York Community Trust, has received pledges of nearly $320 million, including $150 million raised by the entertainment industry. The fund's chief executive was also appointed on October 16; that position went to Joshua Gotbaum, a former senior official in the federal Office of Management and Budget.

                So far, the fund has collected nearly $100 million of the total amount pledged and has made grants totaling almost $16 million. Those grants went to a number of sources, including the Safe Horizon and United Way agencies, the New York State Crime Victims Board, and Seedco, an agency that promotes community development. Also included in the initial round of grants was the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which lost three vehicles when the Trade Center collapsed, the Arab-American Family Support Center, which is helping those affected by attacks on local Muslims, and the New York Fire Department.

                In addition, Ernest J. Collazo '74, a managing partner of Collazo Carling & Mish, and Charlotte Moses Fischman '67, a partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, have been named to the board of the September 11 Fund.


Columbia University World Trade Center Archive Project

                The University Libraries and Archives have started a project documenting the World Trade Center attack and the Columbia community's response to it.

                The libraries, including the Law School's Diamond Law Library, are accepting collections of materials in any language or format from any part of the world that may document the crisis or the continuing efforts at recovery. Photographs, e-mails, letters, pamphlets, flyers, audiotapes, and other items are all welcome. These will eventually form a World Trade Center Archive, available for research or study. For more information, please contact Whitney Bagnall, special collections librarian at the Diamond Law Library, at (212) 854-5244 or at Letters can be addressed to her c/o Box A-6, Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027.

                The University will waive the $100 fee for those alumni/ae who had their diplomas destroyed as a result of the September 11 attacks. Please fill out the diploma replacement form found at the following Web site and send in a copy of a photo ID with a note requesting the fee waiver due to loss as a result of the attacks. The address is:

                If the alum does not have Web access, please call the registrar at (212) 854-4330, ext. 3 to obtain the diploma form.

Back to top

IN MEMORIAM: Paul A. Acquaviva '97, Arlene E. Fried '93, Matthew G. Leonard '87

Paul A. Acquaviva '97
September 11, 2001

                Paul Acquaviva was born on October 24, 1971, in Pompton Plains, N.J., to Josephine and Alfred Thomas Acquaviva and older sister Kara. Growing up, Paul excelled academically and was a "delight" to have in the classroom. After school hours, he could be seen riding bikes through the neighborhood or playing touch football with his friends. Many of these friendships would last his lifetime. He played P.A.L. basketball and was catcher for many little league baseball teams, his proud father coaching from the sidelines.

                Paul attended Wayne Valley High School, where he continued to excel academically, obvious by his straight A grades and induction into the National Honor Society. Paul was a well-rounded person: He was wide receiver for Wayne Valley's 1989 state championship football team, a starting varsity basketball player, a host for the school's local television program Rock n'Roll TV, and a sports editor for his senior yearbook, Embers. During his junior year he met Courtney Seitz, who would become his girlfriend and eventually his wife.

                Rutgers College was Paul's choice for his undergraduate studies. He majored in philosophy. A consistent name on the dean's list, Paul continued to balance his social and academic life exceptionally well. He became a brother in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, where he again made friendships that would last his lifetime. He participated in Keller sports, favoring muddy Sunday football games, and he taught the Princeton Review course to high school students preparing for the SATs. Paul could also be seen walking hand in hand with Courtney across campus (she attended Douglass College) or driving home on a Sunday afternoon for pasta with his family. He received his B.A. in 1994 with honors, including induction into the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

                Paul attended Columbia University School of Law. After taking Courtney for a spaghetti dinner at Camille's on a chilly November evening, he whisked her by cab to the observation deck of the Empire State building, where he proposed. A year and a half later on May 18, 1996, they were married and resided in an off-campus apartment. Paul divided his time between classes, the gym, tutoring underprivileged children, his family, and Saturday night dinners with friends. The summer of his graduation in 1997 he was admitted to the New Jersey and New York state bars.

                Paul began his law career as an associate for Dewey Ballantine in midtown Manhattan. Through long hours, dinners at their desks, and endless paperwork, Paul again turned colleagues into friends, who were among the first to hear and see pictures of his first child, Sarah Lizabeth, born on February 23, 1999. Paul delighted in telling stories about Sarah (the little girl he had always wanted), such as her first bath or how she could pull herself up before she was three months old. He could make her smile in an instant. When he held her in his arms, he was truly a content man. Six months after Sarah was born, Paul and Courtney bought their house in Glen Rock, N.J., and settled into a happy, domestic life.

                In March 2000, Paul accepted a position as vice president of corporate development for eSpeed, a B2B infrastructure company, started by Cantor Fitzgerald and headquartered in the World Trade Center. This new position, which he enjoyed, allowed for evenings with his daughter and weekends with his family. These were good, fun times - long weekends and vacations with Courtney and Sarah, monthly Friday night card games, and hosting an annual holiday party for all his friends - those same friends from elementary school, high school, and college.

                This past summer Paul, Courtney, and Sarah spent a week vacationing in Cape May, N.J., with Paul's family. He spent that week relaxing on the front porch with the newspaper, flying a kite with Sarah, taking evening strolls along the boardwalk, and riding the surf in the ocean. The week of Labor Day this past September, Paul took Courtney and Sarah to their favorite Bahamian resort, the Atlantis. This would be their last trip together before their second child, a son due in December, was expected. This week was bliss - spending all his time with Sarah. Hand in hand they swam, built castles and explored the marine landscape. As Paul and Courtney sat at the Oceanside bar sipping tropical daiquiris, Sarah sleeping in her stroller, they smiled knowingly at each other. "We have a good life," they agreed. "We are lucky...we can't ask for more."

                On the morning of September 11, Paul was in his office at eSpeed when a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center resulted in the mass destruction of the entire complex and an unprecedented loss of life. From the 103rd floor of Tower One, Paul was able to phone his wife twice on his cell phone after the plane hit. Knowing "there is no way out," he called to tell her he loved her. Even facing his own death, he was concerned for his wife and child. The urgency in his voice wasn't about what was happening around him, but that Courtney knew he loved her - and she does.

                Paul was an exceptional human being. He treated all people with dignity, respect, and friendship. He accomplished in 29 tragically short years what it takes many a lifetime to achieve: a solid, successful career, many good friends, and a loving home with a growing, happy family that adored him as he adored them. Paul was a bright light that will always shine and through his children he will live on. One only needs to look at his daughter's smile to see Paul shining through.

 - Courtney Acquaviva


Arlene E. Fried '93
September 11, 2001

                Arlene Fried was a child of  Holocaust survivors. She learned from an early age the true value of life and all its challenges and opportunities. Her parents instilled in her the importance of family, education, and a love for life.  She married her husband, Kenny, after a storybook romance and transferred from Cornell to NYU to be closer to him. She pursued her goals and graduated summa cum laude from NYU. in 1974. She then went on and earned a master's degree in audiology at Adelphi University.

                After settling on Long Island, Arlene devoted her life to the well being of her three daughters. Only after assuring herself that they were secure, and with the support and encouragement of Kenny, did she make the decision to attend law school. At the age of 37, Arlene took the LSAT. She missed a perfect score by one point. Given the opportunity to attend several prestigious law schools, Arlene enrolled at Columbia, and graduated in 1993. During her years at Columbia, she served as research editor of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems.

                The next stage in Arlene's life continued her delicate balance. Fulbright & Jaworski actively recruited her after recognizing the quality of her work as a summer associate. She made the decision to accept the offer and, in what would become her style for the future, became a full-time lawyer who managed to balance her role as corporate attorney with the needs of her family.

                In 1997, Arlene moved to Cantor Fitzgerald, where she rose to vice president and assistant general counsel. As a valued member of senior management, she helped to counsel the firm on corporate policy, became a legal expert in the highly regulated environment in which Cantor operates, and played a key role in the formation and subsequent public Wnancing of eSpeed, that company's electronic trading network. Once again as Cantor Fitzgerald prospered and eSpeed gained worldwide recognition, Arlene was called upon to use her many skills to balance the demands on her busy life. Despite these greater demands, no school meeting was missed, no after-school activity went unattended, no friends were ever forgotten, and no emotional needs of her family were ignored.

                On September 11, at 8:48 a.m., Arlene was where she usually was, at her desk on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. She was busy helping a friend of her brother's get a job as a lawyer. Arlene's delicate balance of work, life, love, and commitment was shattered forever on that awful morning by the monstrous acts that devastated our city, our nation, and the entire world.

                Arlene is survived by her devoted husband, Kenny; by her three daughters, Dayna, Allison, and Emily; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Joseph; and her brother, Elliot Joseph. Dayna, a Northwestern graduate, is pursuing a degree in dentistry at Columbia. Allison, who recently graduated from Union College, is studying for her own LSATs. Emily is a junior at Roslyn High School.

                A memorial service was held at Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn on September 30. More than 1,000 friends, family, and neighbors attended. Contributions in her memory may be sent to Lawyers for Children, Arlene Fried Memorial Fund, 110 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013.

 - Emily Fried


Matthew G. Leonard '87
September 11, 2001

                I  met Matt Leonard during our first month at Columbia Law School and found - like most of my classmates - that the more you knew him, the more you liked him. In the competitive maelstrom of that first year, Matt was imperturbable and always upbeat. Matt was always socializing: Within a month or two, he seemed to know everyone in the class.

                Matt was no laggard, though. He consistently impressed his classmates with his ability to chalk up top grades without putting too much effort into it. By the time our third year rolled around, he was spending more time roaming the halls and conversing than attending class. To this day, I remain convinced that he mastered the law by osmosis as it seeped through the back walls of the lecture halls and wafted through the corridors. Friends from Georgetown, his college alma mater, confirmed that he was well known for his ability to wait until the 11th hour and turn out a brilliant and insightful essay in a single draft.

                What really distinguished Matt, though, was not his intellect but his attitude toward life. First, Matt was one of the most generous people I have known. While at Regis High School, he tutored gifted but underprivileged children in the Bronx; in law school, he ran the moot court program and began pro bono work with MFY Legal Services, which provided legal assistance to the poor in Chinatown. Matt joined the board of directors of MFY, spent five years as its vice chairman, and continued his work there throughout his career. Matt and his wife, Yolanda Cerda, also sponsored an inner-city student through four years of high school.

                Matt was also the quintessential "regular guy." A native son of Brooklyn - "God's country," we called it - Matt was equally at home with the poor and disadvantaged as with the professionals he worked with. He would strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere and, because he treated everyone as equals, everyone responded to him warmly. His wife recalls coming home from work one winter evening and coming out of the Borough Hall subway station to see Matt on the corner with his arm around a homeless person, singing Christmas carols.

                The most impressive thing about Matt, though, was his wonderful sense of balance. He was certainly a Renaissance man and did many things well. Yet one always got the sense that Matt knew what he wanted from life and what he wanted had nothing to do with wealth, power, or prestige. He lived for his family and his friends and enjoyed nothing more than good food, good company, and good conversation. Matt loved excursions through the city in search of a new restaurant or new ingredients for the wonderful meals he made. Any visitor to his home could expect to be plied with an assortment of exotic antipasti and a large glass of red wine (usually the first of several), followed by a superb meal. As a friend put it, "Cooking, for Matt, was another tangible expression of the love he felt for those around him. Meals were manifestations of the great relationships he formed and an opportunity for connecting with his friends and family and sharing his life and joy of living with them."

                Of course, there were a few things Matt was absolutely passionate about, and his wife, Yolanda, and his six-month-old daughter, Christina, were at the top of the list. Matt met Yolanda while they were both at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and I distinctly remember his excitement when he met her. I had previously thought that only the exploits of Georgetown's basketball team could get him this worked up, but Yolanda raised the bar.

                After law school, Matt clerked for District Judge Peter Leisure in the Southern District of New York. Recalling Matt, Judge Leisure said: "When I was first appointed, Judge Vincent Broderick [who was already sitting in the Southern District], advised me that one of the things you might not expect as a judge is how much your law clerks become like an extension of your own family. That was particularly true of Matt. There is a saying that is particularly appropriate of Matt, ‘If you have him as a friend, you don't need many friends.'"

                After his clerkship, Matt joined the litigation department of Willkie. After several years at Willkie, he moved to Chase Manhattan Corporation. He had joined Cantor, Fitzgerald & Co. as assistant general counsel just over a year ago.

- Bill Harrison '87

Friends of Mr. Leonard are currently raising funds for a college savings plan for his daughter, Christina. If you would like to participate, please contact Bill Harrison at or Jeremy (Moshe) Greenberg at

Back to top