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UT News

Sad News – Death of a Student on a Study Abroad Program

A statement on the death of a Texas Tech student during a UT Austin study abroad program.

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The University of Texas at Austin Tower

Dear UT Campus Community,

I am heartbroken to report the tragic death of Elmer Arrieta, a Texas Tech University student participating in a UT Austin study abroad program in Irkutsk, Russia. Elmer was injured in a fall during a hiking excursion on Olkhon Island. He was one of 20 students on the excursion on June 16.

Elmer was a graduate student in Texas Tech’s College of Architecture. UT officials have been in close contact with his parents, and with the campus coordinator on the ground, to provide any assistance they may need. Counselors are heading to Irkutsk to support the students who are still there, and UT Student Emergency Services will continue to offer support to UT students or staff.

We are providing on-the-ground counseling support as well as support to any students here through the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center. Any students affected by this tragedy who need support during the weeknights or weekends can call CMHC’s 24/7 Crisis Line: 512-471-2255.

On behalf of our entire campus, we send our deepest condolences to Elmer’s family, our Texas Tech colleagues and friends, and to all families who have suffered such a devastating loss.


Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students