Utah legislative leaders unanimously adopted a resolution Friday approving a $5 million settlement for claims related to the death of first-year University of Utah international student Zhifan Dong.

Police said Dong, 19, experienced domestic violence at the hands of her then 26-year-old boyfriend, Haoyu Wang. Both are from China.

Dong died in a downtown hotel of an overdose on Feb. 11, 2022, allegedly injected with a fatal dose of heroin and fentanyl by Wang, then 26 years old and also a University of Utah student. He faces murder charges in connection with her death.

An extensive report released by the university in May detailed many offers by U. employees to help Dong and Wang, but the two largely declined or did not respond to offers of assistance. It also acknowledges mistakes and missed opportunities by university staff and police.

Dong lived on the University of Utah campus but card swipe records indicated she had not been to her room for two weeks prior to her death, according to the report released by the university.

In the report, campus law enforcement officials called the case a complex mix of behavioral health challenges, alleged intimate partner violence, missing persons, housing staff shortages and a criminal investigation. 

Documents reveal offers to help, missed opportunities before a U. student was killed in a Salt Lake hotel

Executive Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, sponsor of the resolution, SJR11, said “Zhifan Dong’s murder was a tragedy.”

Stevenson quoted a statement by University of Utah President Taylor Randall, which said “Her murder is a reminder that intimate partner violence is a societal problem that transcends borders and cultures, and manifests in many ways.”

The resolution approved by the committee releases the state from further claims. The settlement resulted from parties participating in mediation, the resolution states.

“We join the university and the Dong family in mourning the death and we’re working to honor her legacy. Beyond that, we refer to a joint settlement released by the university and the Dong family,” Stevenson said.