Community grieving and compassion

The University of Utah family continues to grieve the loss of Zhifan Dong.

The University of Utah family continues to grieve the loss of Zhifan Dong, a first-year undergraduate student from China. This past week, Zhifan’s parents met with campus leaders, faculty and friends of their daughter. Honoring the wishes of the family, a private commemoration was held, and the family expressed appreciation for the condolences received.

Zhifan’s family has asked for privacy as they grieve their loss, and in accordance with this request, the university has not planned a public memorial event. We acknowledge that for some people, a public memorial would help bring closure and more adequately demonstrate our compassion. In this instance, however, our first obligation is to the family, and we will respect their request.

The details surrounding Zhifan’s tragic death are still under police investigation so we cannot speak about the particular circumstances. We can speak to the pain that has rippled across our U community here on campus and across the world to Zhifan’s loved ones in China. We mourn together. As we all grapple with this loss, let us remember that we each process grief through our individual cultural lens and personal experience. Compassion with ourselves and with each other is paramount to our collective healing.

We have been in communication with the communities most directly impacted by Zhifan’s death and are providing support as they request and need. If you are in need of support, please reach out to one of the resources listed below.

Support and resources