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
- Counseling and support services are available from several entities on campus:
- Center for Student Wellness (victim-survivor advocates, bystander intervention training): 801-581-7776
- University Counseling Center (students only): 801-581-6826
- Employee Assistance Program (staff): 801-587-9319 or 800-926-9619
- Housing and Residential Education (available 24/7): 801-587-2000
- Huntsman Mental Health Institute crisis line (available 24/7): 801-587-3000
- International Student and Scholar Services: 801-581-8876, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mental Health First Responders (MH1): (after-hours crisis support from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. for campus residents only) 385-324-5356
- Other support and resources are available at the SafeU website, through the SafeUT app 24/7 chat, and through the U’s Basic Needs Center. Additional support and resources are provided by:
- American Indian Resource Center: 801-581-7019
- Black Cultural Center: 801-213-1441
- Center for Disability and Access: 801-581-5020, email@example.com
- Center for Equity and Student Belonging (CESB): 801-581-8151
- Dream Center: 801-213-3697
- Independent Review Committee: complaints about public safety personnel may be reported to the Independent Review Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
- LGBT Resource Center: 801-587-7973
- Office for Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Title IX: 801-581-8365
- Office of the Dean of Students: 801-581-7066
- Office for Inclusive Excellence: 801-587-7580
- Women’s Resource Center: 801-581-8030
- Veterans Support Center: 801-587-7722, email@example.com