The Letter to UChicago Chinese Students and Families

January 15, 2021

To: UChicago Chinese Students and Families

From: Robert J. Zimmer, President, and Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost

Subject: UChicago and Campus Safety

Date: January 14, 2021

This week our community is mourning the loss of Yiran Fan, an extraordinarily promising Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago. We extend our deepest sympathies to all those who knew him, especially to Yiran’s family members who are grappling with this heartbreaking news. The University is doing its utmost to help support the family during this profoundly difficult time.

Yiran represented the best tradition of a University of Chicago student-scholar. The University has welcomed people of all nations and cultures since its founding in 1890, and by the time Yiran arrived here he had already excelled at Peking University and the University of Cambridge. He was in the fourth year of our University’s Ph.D. program in financial economics, and was “beloved by all who knew him,” as Dean Madhav Rajan of the Booth School of Business said.

This tragic and senseless killing has understandably raised questions about student safety, particularly the safety of those who come to the United States from China and other nations. We know that whenever a student leaves for a new country, safety becomes a natural concern for one’s family and oneself. We are writing to reflect on how such a terribly sad loss could have struck our University community, and to affirm the steps the University has taken and will continue to take in support of safety and security.

The shooting that tragically took Yiran’s life appears to have been random – part of one individual’s violent rampage. The assailant shot Yiran in the parking garage of his off-campus apartment complex, then killed two more people and wounded four individuals in other parts of the city, before he was killed by police from the City of Evanston, which is adjacent to Chicago. There is no evidence to suggest that Yiran was specifically targeted. He was a bystander who became a victim of a senseless crime.

Unfortunately, such gun violence is far more common in the U.S. than in most other developed nations – but we do not accept it as an unavoidable part of our lives.

Upholding public safety is a vital aspect of our commitment to our University community and to the neighborhood and city in which we live. The University has worked over many years to enhance the security of campus and to protect our students and other residents of Chicago’s South Side. The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) is a fully accredited law enforcement body made up of approximately 100 full-time officers, authorized by city ordinance to patrol our campus as well as an extended area beyond campus. UCPD’s efforts have contributed to steady decreases in violent crime in the Hyde Park-South Kenwood neighborhood over more than a decade. Separately, University researchers are working along many paths to understand and prevent gun violence.

Students, faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers and staff from China make essential contributions to the University of Chicago’s remarkable intellectual community, and we are committed to the long-term exchange of ideas between our countries. We ask for your partnership as we continue the work of building a community that is even stronger, safer, and more vibrant. Today, we join Yiran’s family, all those in China, Chicago, and other parts of the world who knew him, our community and friends in China, and our entire community in Chicago, in mourning his death, and holding memory of his life dear.

 


致芝加哥大学全体中国同学和家庭

校长:司马博 

教务长:利嘉仪

2021年1月14日

本周,我们的社区正在为失去范轶然而沉痛哀悼,他是芝加哥大学一位前途无量的在读博士生。在此,我们向所有认识轶然的人,尤其是他心碎的家人,致以最深切的慰问。在这个极其艰难的时刻,芝加哥大学正竭尽全力帮助这个家庭。

轶然代表了芝加哥大学学生学者的最佳传统。自1890年建校以来,芝加哥大学一直欢迎来自不同国家和文化背景的人。轶然来到这里时,已经在北京大学和剑桥大学取得了优异的成绩。他是我校金融经济学四年级的博士生,正如布斯商学院院长Madhav Rajan所说,"所有认识他的人都爱他"。

这起令人悲哀而毫无缘由的枪击事件引起了人们对学生安全,尤其是对从中国和其他国家来美国求学的学生安全问题的质疑,这是可以理解的。我们知道,每当一个学生前往一个新的国家求学,家人和学生本人都会很自然地有安全方面的担忧。我们也在此反思如此令人悲痛的损失将如何在我们的大学社区留下创伤,并承诺继续加强大学已经并将继续采取的校园安全保障措施。

这起夺走轶然生命的悲剧性枪击事件现在看来是随机发生的,是一个人一连串暴力攻击的一部分。该袭击者在轶然校外公寓楼的停车场向他开枪,然后又在市内其他地方打死两人,打伤四人,最后被毗邻芝加哥市的埃文斯顿市的警察击毙。没有任何证据表明轶然的遇难是出于有预谋的攻击,他是这场毫无缘由的犯罪的无辜受害者。

不幸的是,这种枪支暴力在美国远比其他大多数发达国家更常见,但我们绝不接受它是我们生活中不可避免的一部分。我们对大学社区以及我们所居住的社区和城市的重要承诺之一就是维护公共安全。大学多年来一直致力于加强校园安全,以保护我们的学生和芝加哥南区的其他居民。芝加哥大学警察局(UCPD)是一个有官方认证的执法机构,由大约100名全职警察组成,经市政府授权,在校园和校园外围巡逻。UCPD的努力使海德公园-南肯伍德附近的暴力犯罪在十多年来稳步下降。此外,大学的研究人员也正在多方探索研究以便更好地认知和预防枪支暴力犯罪的发生。

来自中国的学生、教师、学者、博士后研究人员和工作人员为芝加哥大学构建卓越的知识社区做出了重要的贡献,我们长期致力于两国民间的思想交流。在继续努力建设一个更强大、更安全、更有活力的社区的同时,我们恳请您的协作。今天,我们和轶然的家人、中国、芝加哥和世界其他地方所有认识他的人、我们在中国的社区和朋友,以及我们芝加哥的整个大学社区一起,来哀悼他的逝世,纪念他的一生。