MOSCOW — The attitude on campus was mixed as students returned to Moscow this week, with the beginning of the spring semester, following the arrest of Bryan Kohberger for the murders of four University of Idaho students this past November.
In November, the town of Moscow was shaken by the murder of the four students, Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin. All four were members of the Greek community on campus and involved in the community. After the tragedy was relayed to the community, there was a firestorm of rumors and misinformation, causing much confusion on campus, which continued into the end of the semester.
On December 30, Kohberger was arrested by police forces in Pennsylvania, and transported back to Idaho’s Latah County. Kohberger sat for his initial hearing in the state Tuesday, where the next hearing was set for late June, as Kohberger waived his right for a speedy trial.
Students are glad to be back on campus
With a suspect in custody, and classes resuming, many students are excited to be getting back into their lives.
“Although this event was really tragic and shook the absolute foundation of our Moscow community and the university, I still feel like this is my home,” said junior Madison Fitzgerald. “So I was excited to come back to campus.”
But some students have more mixed feelings. Maggie Chen, a senior studying architecture, says she still feels “kind of weird” about coming back for classes.
“Police are around campus, but I’m not sure if that will make me more anxious or feel more safe,” Chen said.
U of I hired Hells Canyon Security out of Lewiston to assist in elevating security on campus, as well as having Idaho State Police patrollers surveying campus since the beginning of the investigation. While ISP has severely cut back on their campus presence, Hells Canyon security is still regularly seen.
Not everyone has been affected personally by the tragedy, but many people know somebody who was. Chloe Temple, a senior studying interior architecture, says she is trying her best just to support those in her life that have been affected by the crime.
“I know people who were very close with the students, so I’ve just been trying to give support where I can,” Temple said.
Administration to provide services
As the semester began, U of I administrators have continued to put effort into supporting the student body. In an email sent out to students Thursday, Dean of Students Blaine Eckles stated that he was “heartened” to see students back on campus.
“The university is committed to your success and will continue to provide support and education as you navigate the weeks and months ahead,” Eckles wrote.
The university is offering increased counseling services through the Counseling and Testing Center on campus, as well as continuing the VandalSafe program, which provides security escorts and rides around campus to help students get about safely.
“I’ve honestly never been prouder to call myself the vice president of an institution,” said Fitzgerald, who also serves as the associated student body vice president. “I feel like the university showed that in this situation, they genuinely care about every student’s experience.”
Chen is especially glad for the grace many professors are giving with grades.
“I think it’s good that the university is making classes flexible and accommodating those who need them,” Chen said.
Many professors prepared to offer remote options for their classes for this semester, in anticipation of students not wanting to come back to Moscow, as well as offering assistance in getting work done at the end of last semester.
“I know for most classes that I was in, and for a lot of my friends and peers that I interacted with, a lot of their due dates were supposed to be just like, just get it done before the end of the semester,” Fitzgerald said.
The university has also compiled a list of events and activities to help students prevent violence on campus, with registration available online.
“I think they’ve been doing pretty good, long story short,” Temple said.