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University of Idaho students return to campus after break, others finish semester at home

After the murders of four UI students earlier this month, Brian Kittelson is not convinced Moscow is the safest place for his freshman daughter.

BOISE, Idaho — Many students are back on the University of Idaho campus after Thanksgiving break. But some students decided to finish the semester at home, considering police still do not know who murdered four UI students just two weeks ago.

Brian Kittelson is not convinced Moscow is the safest place for his freshman daughter, who decided to stay home for the remaining three weeks of the semester.

“You just want your kids safe,” he said. “You don’t want to be that parent that says it was okay and then something happens.”

Originally, Kittelson said his daughter wanted to stay on campus.

“We thought okay, isolated incident, seems like a good idea,” he said. “But after that first night staying after the murders, it was a no-brainer. She wanted to come home.”

To help keep everyone who did return to Moscow safe, UI security and Idaho State Police increased their presence around campus.

“I feel a lot safer,” student Owen O’Dea said. “I see ISP out, Moscow [Police Department], Hells Canyon Security.”

Students say they are just trying to get through the next three weeks. O’Dea said most of his friends are returning.

“It’s been a little bit confusing,” student Karl Surmanis said. “It’s taken everyone by surprise. Everyone is just finding ways to get through it. For me, it’s getting through my classes, but I think everyone is trying to just push through.”

Students can schedule counseling appointments or use Safe Walk, a 27/7 service where security officers walk students, employees and visitors to their destinations.

Overall, Kittelson said he is satisfied with the university’s response.

“How does any university know what to do in a situation like this,” he said. “You just hope that the measures they take are really, really going to impact the safety of students.”

In a recent press release, UI stated they will "know better how to proceed in the new year" as the case unfolds.

Police continue dispelling rumors about who killed the four students. They are still tight-lipped about why they believe the attack was targeted, saying they will only release information that does not hinder the ongoing investigation.

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