HomeChinese AmericanUNC mourns after murder of Professor Zijie Yan

UNC mourns after murder of Professor Zijie Yan

Mourners placed flowers and notes at a makeshift memorial Tuesday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in memory of Professor Zijiy Yan.

Police arrested graduate student Tailei Qi, who co-authored several papers with the professor, for first-degree murder.

Today a bell tower will ring at 1:02 pm followed by a moment of silence, the university announced. All classes Wednesday are canceled.

Yan headed the Department of Applied Sciences and served as Qi’s academic adviser, reported the Independent.

“Over the 12+ years that I have known Zijie, my impression of him has only grown; from a very focused and determined young scientist to one of the most creative colleagues that I know,” said Norbert Scherer of the University of Chicago where Yan worked as a postdoctoral fellow, the News Observer reported.

UNC chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz described Yan as a “beloved colleague, mentor and father of two,” reported CBS. He has reached out to Yan’s family and offered the university’s full support.

The Asian American Center on campus held a webinar to give the campus a chance to listen and talk with each other. About 120 students and staff members have accessed counseling services.

A note to Professor Yan along with flowers is left at the campus bell tower at the UNC campus in Chapel Hill
By Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill via UNC Chapel Hill

“At times like these, the term Carolina family becomes evident and real. We are in mourning, but we will find our way ahead, together,” General Alumni Association President Veronica Mora Flaspoehler said.

No motive for the killing has been revealed, but Qi railed about bullies on his social media account.

A judge ordered him to be held without bail as he faces trial for first-degree murder.

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