Utah Tech University expands events honoring 43 students who disappeared from Mexico 

In conjunction with Latino and Hispanic Heritage Month, Utah Tech University is expanding its “Remember the 43 Students” commemoration to honor the lives of 43 students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College who disappeared southwest of Mexico City on Sept. 26, 2014.

As part of the incident, more than 100 Mexican police officers, soldiers and armed men ambushed five buses of students from the Rural Teachers College and another bus carrying a third-division soccer team. In addition to the 43 students who disappeared, six people were killed and more than 40 were wounded.

UT’s tribute to the 43 students who were forcibly disappeared in a night of political violence in Iguala, Guerrero state, Mexico, will include two art installations and a guest speaker this year.

“As the ninth anniversary of the atrocity approaches, standing in support of justice is even more important,” said Stephen Lee, organizer of the installation and dean of Utah Tech’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “I hope that visitors will engage in the complex issues of political violence and economic inequalities and continue to focus on the 43 lost students, to see themselves in the 43.”

Two powerful art installations will return to the UT campus to engage the university community. Jan Nimmo’s portraits of the 43 will be on display in the lobby of Utah Tech’s Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center. Nimmo, who traveled extensively in Guerrero prior to the disappearances to document the work of local artisans, created the series of portraits to raise awareness and emphasize the human face of the victims.

Additionally, the “Remember the 43 Students” installation returns to campus for a third year. This installation, featuring 43 life-sized silhouettes bearing the photo, name and brief bio of each of the 43 students, will be on display on the second floor of the Holland Centennial Commons on the Utah Tech campus. The installation also includes information about the tragedy.

Both art installations will be on display Sept. 15- Oct. 6. An opening ceremony at 3 p.m. on Sept. 18 in the Eccles lobby will serve to officially open the campus engagement.

As part of this year’s tribute, MIT historian Tanalís Padilla will speak at noon on Sept. 26 in the Zion Room, located on the fifth floor of the Holland Centennial Commons. Padilla has written extensively about the teachers’ college system in Mexico, which includes the Ayotzinapa school where the 43 students were studying.

The “Remember the 43 Students” art installations and events are open to the community. More information about Utah Tech’s commemoration as well as the students’ forced disappearance are available at www.rememberthe43students.com.