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The celebration of women at Harvard that was on the agenda for Cambridge City Council's meeting on Monday night was dampened by an out pouring of somber emotion for Jeffrey Curley, the 10-year-old city resident who was kidnapped last week and found dead in a Maine river yesterday.
Late in the evening, the council voted unanimously in favor of drafting a resolution celebrating the full inclusion of women at Harvard College, meant to coincide with the University's 25th anniversary of co-residency last weekend.
"I'm glad to see that women are being given their just recognition by Harvard," Mayor Sheila Doyle Russell said. "It's about time."
However, that pronouncement, and most other business, followed a lengthy discussion of the recent tragic death of one of Cambridge's own.
The meeting opened with a moment of silence in memory of Curley. Councillors then officially joined with local residents in sending their condolences to the Curley family, and reassured citizens that Cambridge remains a safe city for children.
"We thank everybody for their kindness and understanding," Russell said. "It's a terrible thing for any family to go through and I just can't imagine how they must feel, but [the city] extends [its] thanks to those people who have extended themselves to them."
Both residents and council members praised the strength of the Curley family and the unity of the Cambridge community in the wake of this tragedy.
"I just can't tell you how much admiration I have for them," Russell said of the staff of the Harrington School, where Curley was a student. "They worked so well together and did everything that they could to help people work their way through it. The staff at the Harrington School put aside their own grief--and they were grieving--to work with the children."
Amongst expressions of shock and sadness, many searched for a moral to this terrible story. "It has really shaken everyone...that something like this could actually happen in our own city. It's a great tragedy for all of us in the city and it's a traumatic experience for our young people," said Councillor Timothy J. Toomey Jr. "It just reiterates how much we have to take care of our young children."
Council members lauded the Curley family--particularly Jeffrey's father, Robert Curley--for their effort to reach out to the community for support following the murder.
"The strength that [the Curley family has] shown...has served as an example for me and the entire community and I just can't thank them enough," said council member Anthony D. Galluccio. "Standing outside the house and seeing the numbers of people that have come down and placed candles--stood outside to show their support--shows just what a great city this is."
In an interview with The Crimson, Mayor Russell commended Mr. Curley for his "leadership in trying to keep things calm."
The council also mourned the loss of another in Cambridge, Scott Krueger, the MIT first-year who died last week from alcohol poisoning.
A resolution mandated that "the City Council go on record expressing its sincerest sympathy to the family of Scott Krueger."
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