The president of University of Arizona, Robert Robbins, apologized for the university’s dismissal of a recent report about a workplace violence incident that took place in October 2022.
A report from university faculty concluded that university administrators should have known that an expelled graduate student, the accused murderer, was a dangerous individual. But the university said it had tried twice to charge Dervish, but the county prosecutor said there was not enough evidence. Pima County Attorney Laura Conover said, “In neither instance did the facts of the complaint meet the evidentiary requirements for charging him with the crime of threats and intimidation.” The county official added, “Our office bases criminal charges on the evidence presented, which must rise to the Constitutional standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
As background, on October 5, Murad Dervish allegedly murdered the chair of the Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences Department, Thomas Meixner, by shooting Meixner with a gun (which the media said it was legally purchased and owned) on the university’s campus. Dervish was banned from the campus in January 2022 and was expelled six months later in June, and the university said it changed door codes and other procedures to prevent Dervish from accessing several rooms.
Robbin’s apology at a press conference mentioned that the university has to work to make its campus a “safer place.” Robbins said, “It was a mistake for us to release that dismissive criticism of their work, and I believe that we can go forward by uniting, as I said, to work together to make the campus a safer place.”
Dervish faces a first-degree murder charge for killing Meixner, as well as a charge of aggravated assault.
Inside Higher Ed reported about the controversy at the public university, which is located south of Phoenix in the city of Tucson.