The off-campus home where four University of Idaho students were slain last year has been given to the school by its owner, and the school plans to knock it down. A university spokeswoman tells the Washington Post that the demolition will take place before the end of the spring semester. "This is a healing step and removes the physical structure where the crime that shook our community was committed," university President Scott Green says in a statement. "Demolition also removes efforts to further sensationalize the crime scene."
Green adds that students may be tapped to figure out what to do with the property in the future. Green notes in his statement that a memorial to 21-year-old Madison Mogen, 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves, 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, and 20-year-old Ethan Chapin is in the early planning stages, as is a "healing" garden that will be set up as "a place of remembrance" for all students the school has lost. Scholarships in the four students' names are also in the works.
Repurposing, abandoning, or destroying sites where murders have taken place isn't unusual, Dimitris Xygalatas, an associate anthropology and psychological sciences professor at the University of Connecticut, noted last year for the Conversation. "We are a symbolic species," he wrote. "There is a powerful cathartic aspect to those purification rituals. ... For even as the pain remains, the knowledge that a tangible reminder of it has been undone can be soothing." (Read more University of Idaho stories.)