University of Iowa Students React to the Death of Classmate Mollie Tibbetts

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Students at the University of Iowa started classes Monday and many of them said they're devastated to hear the news about Mollie Tibbetts.

University faculty and staff released this statement Tuesday:

We are deeply saddened that we’ve lost a member of the University of Iowa community. Our thoughts are with Mollie Tibbetts’ family, friends, and classmates. Losing a fellow student and member of our Hawkeye family is difficult.

President Harreld and I share in your grief and encourage you to reach out if you are in need of support.

A list of resources can be found on the university's safety and support website or by calling one of these offices:

  • University Counseling Services (319-335-7294)
  • Student Care and Assistance (319-335-1162)
  • UI Employee Assistance Program (319-335-2085)

-Dr. Melissa Shivers, Vice President for Student Life and Interim Chief Diversity Officer

One student said even over the summer the topic of Tibbetts disappearance has been in every day conversation between teachers and students.

"Now walking alone at night is really scary and I never felt uncomfortable with that. Even though I live a lot closer to campus than I did last year, it's kind of terrifying. I've been taking a lot of Ubers," University of Iowa Student Emma Lindskog said.

Some students said their teachers have talked about counseling resources available on campus and warned them to be aware of their surroundings on the first day of classes.

"It's been brought up a lot. Teachers told us to walk in groups and be aware of our surroundings," Lindskog said.

One student said the campus is very somber and sad following the news of Tibbetts death.

"I think most of us are just shocked right now. I didn't know her personally but I'm still sad because I was following and watching. I was like, I hope she's okay because as it got past even just that first week, I know a lot of the people I talked to about it back home and people I've talked to since I got here we were all hoping she was okay, but we were all very skeptical and it's just heart breaking really," a University of Iowa freshman said.

One freshman says she and her roommate were on edge about coming to campus this year and this incident pushed them to check in with each other at every hour of the day to make sure they reach their destinations safely.

"All I can say is I really hope that her family stays strong and they're okay. And that people our age, girls mainly, since she was female, they stay safe, stay alert. Anyone really, because I don't want any of this to happen to students here, students everywhere across the nation. It would be really sad to see another person like this get hurt, someone who seems so vibrant full of life and I just want everyone out there to stay safe," a University of Iowa freshman said.