Dixie State University remembers 43 missing students through campus exhibit

In conjunction with Latino and Hispanic Heritage Month, Dixie State University is hosting the “Remember the 43 Students” art installation and special events to honor the lives of 43 students who disappeared in Mexico on Sept. 26, 2014.

Representing the students, 43 life-sized silhouettes will be on display in nine buildings throughout the Dixie State campus Sept. 17 through Oct. 1. Each figure will represent one of the students and include a short bio about the individual and information about the tragedy. The installation will commence with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on Sept. 17 in the lobby of DSU’s Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center.

“My hope is that our students will look at these 43 strangers and see themselves,” said Stephen Lee, organizer of the installation and dean of Dixie State’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “I hope they will engage the complex issues of political violence and economic inequalities with both their heads and their hearts.”

As part of the installation, Mexico City-based journalist John Gibler will have a one-on-one discussion with Vince Brown, director of DSU’s Institute of Politics, at 4 p.m. on Sept. 23 in the Gardner Center Ballroom. Gibler is the author of several books, including “I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa.”

“The depth and breadth of John Gibler’s knowledge on the subject is astounding,” Brown said. “When police attacked five busses carrying students, six died, 40 were wounded and 43 students were never seen again. Is this something that is distant and unrelatable to our students?  No, I don’t think so. To the contrary, the 43 were young people on their way to a protest and I am reminded of a recent trip by some of our students to make their voices heard at the state legislature.”

The issues surrounding the incident include the use of force by police, corruption, freedom of expression, treatment of indigenous people, political and academic freedom at universities and the U.S. drug war.

“I can see so many reasons why those issues should concern our students. But frankly, it is a human tragedy about which all compassionate people should care,” Brown said. “I hope our students will learn about and stand in solidarity with the 43 disappeared and their families, who continue to seek justice.”

To further commemorate the seventh anniversary of the atrocity, St. George Catholic Church will offer prayers of intercessions during Sunday masses on Sept. 26.

The “Remember the 43 Students” art installation and corresponding events are open to the community. More information as well as a map of where each silhouette is placed on campus is available at www.rememberthe43students.com.