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Feb. 10, 2022

Dear UAF community,

Today a Fairbanks jury found Steven Downs guilty of the murder of Sophie Sergie, a young Alaska Native woman who was killed on the UAF campus in April of 1993.

I hope this verdict brings a sense of closure to all those who have waited for justice for nearly 30 years. However, let’s also recognize that this trial has been a difficult reminder for everyone grieving Sophie’s death as well as victims of similar crimes. Her tragic death continues to be painful for many at UAF and throughout Alaska.

Violence against women, particularly Indigenous women, remains a tragic storyline in Alaska’s history and it continues in our present. We must all work together to change this narrative. The University is a place of learning — where we learn from history so that tragedies are not repeated. Please do your part as we renew our commitment to a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring at UAF.

If you are struggling, please don’t struggle alone. For students, the Student Health and Counseling Center can provide support or counseling. Call 474-7043 to speak with someone or visit https://uaf.edu/chc/services/counseling.php for more information. Employees are eligible for free counseling through the Employee Assistance Program. Please call 1-888-993-7650, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Dan White, chancellor


UAF is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination/.