April 7, 2016
With great sadness, I have just learned from the Austin Police Department that Haruka Weiser, a first-year Theatre and Dance student, has been tentatively identified as the victim of this week’s homicide on campus. Austin Police Department Victim Services counselors spoke this morning with her parents and my heart goes out to them. Her death is a tragic loss for the UT community.
Haruka was a beloved member of our dance community, liked and admired by her classmates and respected by professors for her intelligence and spirit. Dance faculty members first met Haruka more than two years ago when she performed at the National High School Dance Festival. They immediately began recruiting her to come to UT from her home in Portland, Oregon. Our community was made better by her decision to join the College of Fine Arts.
Trained in ballet, Haruka excelled in all her performance endeavors. She was also involved in Dance Action, a student-run organization for dancers, and performed in the fall Dance Action concert.
UTPD first learned that Haruka was missing on Monday morning and immediately began a search. As I reported in my message to campus yesterday, Austin police are leading the homicide investigation into this horrifying and incomprehensible crime and working with UTPD and other law enforcement agencies to locate and apprehend a suspect quickly.
The unthinkable brutality against Haruka is an attack on our entire family. Law enforcement is fully engaged to do everything to bring the perpetrator who committed this crime to justice.
I ask you to join me in expressing our deepest condolences to Haruka’s parents, family, classmates and friends and to help the university honor her life.
Gregory L. Fenves