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University of Iowa responds to news of Mollie Tibbetts’ death

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University of Iowa responds to news of Mollie Tibbetts’ death

The University of Iowa community responds after law enforcement officials announce Mollie Tibbetts was found dead Tuesday.

August 21, 2018

University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts was supposed to start her second year as a Hawkeye on Aug. 20, but fellow Hawkeyes responded Aug. 21 to an announcement from law-enforcement officials that she had been found dead.

Tibbetts’ body was found just outside of Brooklyn, Iowa, more than a month after her July 18 disappearance from Brooklyn, Iowa.

Tibbetts, 20, vanished on July 18 from Brooklyn. She worked at the Eckstein Medical Research Building Café and was involved with Dance Marathon.

“We are deeply saddened that we’ve lost a member of the University of Iowa community,” UI Vice President for Student Life and interim Chief Diversity Officer Melissa Shivers said in a press release Aug. 21. “Our thoughts are with Mollie Tibbetts’ family, friends, and classmates.”

A vigil hosted by UI Student Government and Dance Marathon will be held from 7-8 p.m. Aug. 22 at Hubbard Park.

“Losing a fellow student and member of our Hawkeye family is difficult,” she said. “President [Bruce] Harreld and I share in your grief and encourage you to reach out if you are in need of support.”

Rape Victim Advocacy Program Director Adam Robinson told The Daily Iowan that Tibbetts went through training during the last academic year to serve as a certified victim advocate. Volunteers in that position work to respond to advocacy requests through a hospital or law-enforcement agencies.

Robinson said to “forward our heavy hearts and compassion to anyone impacted” and noted RVAP is available to offer support to people in need.

“We’re all part of an agency that’s been around for 45 years with a mission of ending gender-based violence,” he said. “We’re on the one hand acutely aware of the realities of interpersonal violence and gender-based violence. It’s always hard; it’s always sad. It’s particularly difficult when it impacts somebody in your own circle, in our case in our RVAP family.”

Linda Kroon, the director of the Women’s Resource and Action Center, posted on Twitter in response to the news to offer support and said, “All of us at WRAC extend our heartfelt sympathy to Mollie’s loved ones, friends, classmates.”

University Counseling Service also posted on Twitter to offer advocacy, pointing to a guide on responding after a tragedy.

“The [service] is aware of the report that the body of Mollie Tibbets has been found,” the post said. “The [service] grieves tremendously for the terrible loss for this Iowa Hawkeye.”

Resources can be found on the UI safety and support website or by reaching out to one of these offices:

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

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