University of Iowa

Statement from ISSS Regarding Ms. Shao Tong

September 30th, 2014

By Lee Seedorff

In light of the announcement by the Iowa City Police Department regarding the tragic death of Ms. Shao Tong, an international student at Iowa State University in Ames, International Student and Scholar Services wishes to reach out to all international students here at the University of Iowa.  Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms. Shao, the Iowa State University community, and all international students impacted by this.

Whether you are a student from China who was in the same social network as Ms. Shao, or a student from any country, an event such as this can add stress, worry, anger, and grief for any international student regardless of country of origin. 

University Counseling Services is available at 319-335-7294 to help students experiencing difficult times in coming days. The Johnson County Crisis Center has a 24 hour crisis hotline available in English at 319-351-0140, and a confidential and anonymous online crisis chat program available in both English and Mandarin found at http://jccrisiscenter.org/pages/what-we-do/crisis-chat.php .  This resource is also available to international students anywhere in Iowa, and has been shared with the international student office at Iowa State University. 

Advisors with ISSS are also available to talk.

Parents of international students may also become increasingly worried about their sons and daughters at such times when they are so far away.  If your parents are concerned and wish to speak to a University of Iowa representative, they are encouraged to contact ISSS at lee-seedorff@uiowa.edu to discuss any concerns they may have.  If they do not have fluency in written English, it would be helpful if they can have someone assist them, but we will try our best to deal with translation issues as well.

ISSS has been cooperating with the University of Iowa and Iowa City police departments since we first learned of the disappearance of Ms. Shao and that Iowa City was her last known point of contact, and will continue to do so when requested as their investigation continues. 

We are aware that much information is being shared via social media sites, and we strongly encourage anyone who feels they have any information regarding this situation to immediately communicate with the Iowa City Police Department at 319-356-5275.  You never know when any details may help them in their investigation.

If you have any concerns, or suggestions on what ISSS and the University of Iowa can do to support our international community at this time, please share them with me at lee-seedorff@uiowa.edu.

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