The University of Utah introduced this week that it’ll pay a $5 million settlement to the parents of an international student from China who was killed final 12 months.
Zhifan Dong, 19, died in what police say was a home violence murder in a Salt Lake Metropolis motel room on Feb. 11, 2022. Her then-boyfriend and fellow student, Haoyu Wang, has been charged along with her dying. An inside evaluate the college printed in July confirmed that faculty housing workers members failed a number of instances to acknowledge Dong was in peril within the weeks main up to her dying.
“Whereas we proceed to mourn Zhifan’s dying, we’re grateful to take this essential step towards justice for our daughter,” Dong’s father, Mingsheng Dong, and her mom, Junfang Shen, stated in a press release Tuesday concerning the settlement. “It’s our hope that Zhifan shall be remembered and that her reminiscence will encourage others to assist stop intimate associate violence and save lives on campus and in all our communities.”
Wang, 26, has been charged with homicide and is incarcerated. He has been declared incompetent to stand trial and has pleaded not responsible by way of his legal professional, Joseph C. Alamilla.
Within the settlement, the varsity acknowledged its failure to defend Dong.
“The college acknowledges shortcomings in its response of its housing and residential schooling workforce to the complicated state of affairs that resulted in Zhifan Dong’s dying and acknowledges the horrible loss that the Dong Household has suffered,” the varsity stated.
University President Taylor Randall stated the settlement demonstrates the varsity’s “seriousness in honoring Zhifan Dong” and “dedication to the continued work of addressing all facets of student security.”
Dong’s “homicide is a reminder that intimate associate violence is a societal downside that transcends borders and cultures, and manifests in some ways,” Randall stated in a press release. “Nobody ought to have to endure the loss of a toddler to violence and our college will stay diligent, proceed to enhance, and advance the well being and well-being of our college students.”
Dong’s parents stated in an interview in July that the college had not been forthcoming about missteps in responding to their daughter’s security considerations.
“We felt betrayed and lied to,” they stated. “That is bureaucratic conceitedness, contempt for all times, and an unforgivable mistake.”
On Jan. 14, 2022, almost a month earlier than she was killed, Dong alerted the varsity housing division that Salt Lake Metropolis police had arrested Wang two days earlier and accused him of assaulting her throughout an altercation, in accordance to college paperwork. However housing workers didn’t flag the arrest to college police till a month later — after Dong had disappeared. Data additionally confirmed that workers members repeatedly confused Dong’s identify with Wang’s and mistakenly referred to as the telephone quantity of one other student who shared the identical identify as Wang, who can also be an international student from China.
The varsity stated the settlement shall be voted on within the coming days, as any authorized settlement in Utah involving a state entity that exceeds $1 million requires legislative approval. (Gov. Spencer Cox has already signed off on the decision.) The settlement, which received’t embody state appropriations or funds from student tuition, resolves “excellent authorized claims towards the college,” the college stated in an official assertion. After the interior evaluate, the varsity took disciplinary motion towards three housing workers, and two others resigned.
As well as to the monetary settlement, the varsity stated it would create a memorial on campus in Dong’s reminiscence.
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