UC Berkeley student killed in Nice terrorist attack

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Update 7/17/16: This story has been updated to reflect that Nicolas Leslie has been confirmed dead.

Nicolas “Nick” Leslie, a 20-year-old campus junior, was killed during the terrorist attack that took place Thursday in Nice, France, while three other UC Berkeley students sustained serious injuries.

The attack — perpetrated by a man who drove a 19-ton truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice — killed 84 people and injured more than 200 others, the New York Times reported. Leslie, who was among the 85 campus students attending a nearby study abroad program, has since been identified as one of those who perished, according to a message from UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks that was sent to the campus community Sunday.

“No one present at the scene — or who watched in horror on television — will soon forget the terrible images of destruction and death,” Dirks said in the statement. “As we mourn all the victims and wish the injured speedy recoveries, it is incumbent upon all of us to come together in understanding, support and love.”

In an effort to locate Leslie, the study abroad program’s staff had joined with the campus’s risk services office and student affairs — along with Leslie’s fellow students, area officials and U.S. consular personnel — to conduct an extensive search. According to a campus press release, the FBI informed administration of Leslie’s death after having been notified by French intelligence Sunday.

Vladyslav Kostiuk, a senior majoring in computer science who suffered a broken leg, and Diane Huang, a junior majoring in environmental economics and policy who sustained a broken foot, were released after receiving medical treatment for their injuries and have returned to their residence halls in Nice. The third injured student, undeclared campus sophomore Daryus Medora, was still hospitalized as of Friday evening after breaking his leg.

The 15-day study abroad program that Leslie and the injured students were attending — Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Europe — was suspended in accordance with the national three days of mourning in France. The program was expected to continue until July 24, the date it was initially scheduled to end, though Dirks’ statement did not address whether Leslie’s death will result in a further suspension of the program.

In a campuswide message Friday, Vice Provost Cathy Koshland and Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell expressed sympathy for those “impacted by these tragic events” and outlined next steps to be taken with respect to the study abroad program.

“Our hearts go out to all of those impacted by the senseless violence that occurred yesterday in Nice, France,” the message read. “The campus has offered to bring home any students who wish to leave the program before its end date, and so far, three students have chosen to do so and return home to the U.S.”

The message further stated that the campus will provide “on the ground” counseling, in addition to support for any impacted students in Berkeley through the campus’s University Health Services. A representative of the campus Study Abroad program flew to Nice on Friday to provide added support for those affected by the attack.

Other UC Berkeley students have been affected by recent incidents of terrorism abroad, including campus sophomore Tarishi Jain, who was killed in the Bangladesh terrorist attacks that began July 1. A vigil was held for Jain on campus July 5.

Leslie was enrolled in the campus College of Natural Resources and had planned to begin at the Haas School of Business in the fall, according to Dirks’ statement.

“On behalf of our entire campus, we send our deepest condolences to Nick’s family and friends, and to all the other families who have suffered such a devastating loss,” Dirks said.

The ASUC has coordinated a vigil for Leslie, which will take place Monday at 4:30 p.m. on Sproul Plaza.

Logan Goldberg is the executive news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @logangoldberg.