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Statement of condolence
On Friday, (Sept. 27) local police departments were called to an off-campus apartment complex to respond to reports of an armed assault. A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate student was pronounced dead and another was arrested without resistance at a local hotel later in the day.
Mengchen Huang, a doctoral student in the School of Art and Design in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, died of injuries resulting from an assault with a knife. Yongfei Ci, a doctoral student in the department of mathematics who was studying on a fellowship at another university this semester, was arrested on a preliminary charge of murder. Both were Chinese citizens on student visas. A third student who witnessed the assault called the authorities and was not injured in the incident.
The entire university community is shocked and saddened by this tragedy that touches so close to our home and that has claimed the life of one of our family. The university has reached out to Miss Huang’s family and they have asked for our respect in their time of grief. They are working with members of the local and campus community to arrange for a private memorial service.
Our thoughts are with the family of Miss Huang and all of our students and faculty and staff members who will have some difficult days ahead. This incident may have occurred beyond the borders of our campus, but the impact will clearly be felt here.
The safety and the health of our community – both physically and emotionally – is a critical concern. Staff members from the Counseling Center and from the Office of the Dean of Students have been working since Friday to make sure support services are available to any who might need them.
We encourage anyone in the campus community who would like assistance in processing reactions to this incident or would just like to speak to someone about it to contact one of these campus resources:
Campus Support Resources:
• For undergraduate and graduate students: 217-333-3704; www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu
• For faculty and staff and members of their households: 217-244-5312; http://fsap.illinois.edu
• The Office of the Dean of Students: 217-333-0050; www.odos.illinois.edu
The investigation of the crime is ongoing by the Urbana Police Department and is a matter for the judicial system to pursue. For those interested in following the details of that process, we suggest following coverage in one of our local news sources, such as the News-Gazette (http://www.news-gazette.com/) or the Daily Illini (http://www.dailyillini.com/).
Any questions about the investigation or about the incident should be directed to the Urbana Police Department (217-384-2320, http://urbanaillinois.us/police).
Again, this is a sad day for our community and we ask that Miss Huang’s family be kept in the thoughts of all on campus in the coming days.