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University of Arizona to honor professor Meixner exactly one year after murder

Electric+candles+sit+outside+of+the+University+of+Arizonas+Old+Main+building+for+people+to+grab+before+the+vigil+honoring+the+life+of+Thomas+Meixner+on+Oct.+7%2C+2022.+Memorial+speeches+were+given+that+night+by+UA+President+Dr.+Robert+C.+Robbins%2C+Meixners+brother-in-law+and+others.
Ben Tisdale
Electric candles sit outside of the University of Arizona’s Old Main building for people to grab before the vigil honoring the life of Thomas Meixner on Oct. 7, 2022. Memorial speeches were given that night by UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins, Meixner’s brother-in-law and others.

The University of Arizona will host a memorial service from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, in honor of Thomas Meixner, a professor who was killed on campus the same day one year ago

The event will be open to the public at the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center on 1615 E. Second St. A service is scheduled for noon, which will be livestreamed, according to an email sent to students and staff from UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins. 

“Dr. Meixner was beloved by his students and colleagues, both here at the University and around the world,” Robbins said in the email. “His tragic killing left a lasting mark on our campus and in the hearts of those who knew him.”

The school’s memorial plans were made through a collaboration with the Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences department, of which Meixner was the head of, and in accordance with the wishes of his family, the email said.

While the gathering will be non-denominational, the Newman Center will hold its daily mass in honor of Meixner around 5 p.m. Additionally, the UA College of Science and Facilities Management will install a spotlight for 24 hours in his honor, starting at 8 a.m. on Oct. 5.

Counselors and representatives from the school’s Counseling and Psych Services will be in attendance in case any students or staff need assistance for mental health resources, according to the email.

Robbins also mentioned the fund made in Meixner’s honor, which is meant to support graduate hydrology students. The total has reached $85,000 so far, he said in his email. Those interested in donating to the fund can find more information at crowdfund.arizona.edu/project/33962.

An ongoing aftermath

For months after the fatal shooting of Meixner, the university faced backlash for its handling of the situation. Several faculty members formed a committee to outline the school’s response failures, including having known about the threats made against the professor by the alleged shooter, as well as the removal of his on-campus memorial days after the incident.

The Meixner family filed a $9 million damage claim in March against the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the UA. The claim, as reported by Arizona Public Media, argues the school is at fault for “repeatedly ignoring the clear and present danger of a hostile and dangerous student who openly advertised his intent to murder.” 

As of Oct. 3, no further updates on the claim have been publicly released.

After the UA’s hired security consulting firm released its own report detailing systemic failures in the handling of the situation, the school has since been working towards improving campus safety and security. 

Some actions the school has made so far include leadership changes; background checks on graduate assistants and associates; the start of a process to update classroom doors with fire and safety compliant locks; and the move to automatically enroll every student and employee into the UAlert system.

The trial for the suspected murderer, ex-grad student Murad Dervish, was originally set for September but has since been delayed.

Mental health resources available

If you have been impacted by this situation and are seeking help, you can contact UA Campus Health by calling 520-621-9202 or find out how to set up an appointment on their website at health.arizona.edu.

Additionally, UA Counseling & Psychological Services has a variety of different resources intended to help students, including a “Mental Health & Wellness Tools” webpage. CAPS also has in-person availability from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. You can find this and more at caps.arizona.edu or contact CAPS directly through its 24/7 number 520-621-3334.


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