Student-led vigil to honor U of I victims on the anniversary of their deaths

The University of Idaho will hold a vigil on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. on the Moscow campus, a year after four students were found slain in an off-campus house.

Students from three of the Greek chapters associated with the victims will speak, as well as Tanner McLain, president of the Associated Students of the University of Idaho (ASUI). U of I alumni, community members and all Idahoans are encouraged to turn on their porch lights from 6-7 p.m. (PST) time to show their support. All are invited to attend.

On November 13, 2022, Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen were victims of a brutal, quadruple homicide. As reported by Ed News, U of I students encountered a difficult finish to the semester after the murders, some needing to leave campus and finish their classes remotely. Those on campus dealt with the on-going investigation and increased police presence, including Idaho State Police troopers.

Police arrested Bryan Kohberger, a doctoral student at Washington State University, 47 days after the murders. Kohberger’s trial is currently on hold. According to Idaho Press, the judge in his case recently ordered the prosecution to provide more information about their DNA evidence, a key part of their case.

Along with the vigil, students and alumni have come together to create the Vandal Healing Garden and Memorial, already raising over $200,000 for the effort, according to U of I spokesperson Jodi Walker. As a class project this semester, students from the College of Art and Architecture will draft a design plan based on suggestions from the community received online and at a recent “design charette” event.

“The students really understand that the healing garden and memorial will last for generations,” Walker explained. “That’s a legacy that will last long beyond them. And the appreciation of that and the intentionality of what they’re doing is incredible.”

Last year, the Idaho Legislature approved Gov. Brad Little’s request for $1 million dollars to help offset costs associated with the homicides. Though some students chose to complete their fall semester at home last year after the killings, enrollment at U of I for fall of 2023 increased to 11,849, up 3%.

McLain, slated to speak at the vigil, emphasized the importance of students coming together during this difficult time. “It is important that the students lead this effort toward healing. We want to ensure we continue to tell their stories, to honor their legacy and to provide a place where each student can heal. Together we are moving forward.”

Katie McGuire

Katie McGuire

Katie McGuire is a freelance reporter for EdNews. She lives in Meridian with her husband and their two children. She has a bachelor's degree in secondary education social science teaching from Brigham Young University and a master's in history from Kent State University.

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