Leahy aids Midd. students in Egypt

MIDDLEBURY — Last Thursday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) met with Lara Getz, one of 22 students evacuated earlier that week from Middlebury College’s study abroad program in Alexandria, Egypt.
Getz, a student at Tulane University, visited the senator in Washington, D.C., to thank him for his help in getting the students transportation out of the country in the face of an escalating public uprising against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule in the country.
Tik Root, a Ripton native and Middlebury College junior, was also evacuated from the Alexandria program. Root on Friday said that despite difficulty getting help from officials in-country, Leahy’s office was in communication with his parents and with college administrators as they worked to find the students a flight out of the country. He added that a number of other senators were also working to help the students leave the country safely.
“Sen. Leahy has been unbelievable through this whole process,” said Root. “His office deserves a high amount of credit for getting us out of there as quickly as possible.”
According to a press release from his office, Sen. Leahy played a role in communicating with the State Department on behalf of the students and obtaining security for the group on their trip to the Alexandria airport.
The students were able to fly out of the country on a charter flight on the night of Jan. 31, and reached their destinations by way of Prague. Root arrived back in Vermont on Wednesday (Look for more on his odyssey in Thursday’s edition of the Independent).
Late last week, Leahy was outspoken on the topic of the Egyptian government, recommending that the U.S. discontinue the $2 billion in aid that it sends to the country annually unless Mubarak steps down. In the press release, Leahy also remarked on the ongoing attacks on journalists and Egyptian protestors.
“I hope President Mubarak will realize that this violence threatens to blot his legacy and that it will not prevent an early end of his rule, which now seems inevitable.”

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