University Mourns Loss of PhD Student Minghui Yu

April 5, 2008

Dear Members of the Columbia Community:

I am writing to share very sad news about one of our graduate students.On Friday night a PhD student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Minghui Yu, was struck by an automobile two blocks north of our main campus at 122nd Street and Broadway while he was apparently fleeing an attempted robbery on the sidewalk. The student was taken to St. Luke's Hospital but passed away as a result of the severe injuries he had sustained.

An NYPD investigation is underway and is being supported by the University's Department of Public Safety which, last night following university procedures, circulated an alert to student affairs deans at all of our schools with information about possible suspects in the attempted robbery.

As a community we mourn the loss of one of our members, and especially of a young person with much to look forward to in a life of promise. The University's counseling services are available to anyone who feels he or she could benefit from expert support in response to this deeply sad event. Please do not hesitate to visit Counseling and Psychological Services on the 8th floor of Lerner Hall today from 1-5 p.m., or call at any time 212-854-2878 if you feel such assistance would be helpful to you.

While incidents of crime have been significantly reduced in New York over recent decades, and the area of Morningside Heights is within one of the safest precincts in the city, it is nevertheless imperative that we all take reasonable precautions appropriate to life in a large metropolitan environment. Our Department of Public Safety has worked closely with the NYPD in safeguarding members of our University Community and offers a range of services – including safety escorts, evening shuttle buses and directed patrols – that help ensure students, faculty and staff can both be, and feel, secure while living, studying and working here. We constantly review and seek to improve public safety operations. If you would like more information on these services, go to:, or call 212-854-2797.

The family of the graduate student has been notified. We will begin plans for a memorial event on campus. I know we are united as a community in mourning the tragic loss of a young life.


Lee C. Bollinger