As part of our initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, an anonymous reader asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Has anyone ever been murdered on UNL campus? How many times have students, faculty or staff been murdered on campus in the past 50 years?”
According to Univeristy of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department Captain John Backer, there has not been a murder on campus during the 18 years he has been working at the UNL. After some investigation, he wasn’t able to find any murders within the last 50 years.
However, according to the UNLPD database, a total of 12 deaths have occured on campus in the last 15 years. This included students, faculty, staff and any contractors or event attendees. The breakdown shows one faculty member, two staffers, six students and three people who were not affiliated with UNL were found dead on campus.
This information was corroborated by Mary Ellen Ducey, an associate professor for the University Libraries archives. After looking through newspaper records from the last 50 years Ducey did not find any evidence of murder taking place on campus within the history of the university.
“I’d like to say that no one has ever been murdered here, and based on my research, it has not,” Ducey said. “But I would have to do more in order to confidently say that it has not happened.”
Despite all evidence pointing to an absence of murder on campus, an article from The Daily Nebraskan revealed that UNL came very close in 1992. Arthur McElroy was a 43-year-old student at the university and was charged with attempted second degree murder after he attempted to fire a semi-automatic rifle in a classroom of students. Because of his inexperience with the gun and the swift reaction of law enforcement, no one was hurt.