Police investigate apparent suicide of U of Iowa professor

The Daily Iowan

An oboe professor at the UI School of Music is believed to have killed himself Wednesday. Police responded to the home of Mark Weiger at 3:41 p.m. after a caller reported a male in a vehicle who appeared dead.

The apparent suicide comes nearly a week after a former graduate student of Weiger’s sued him in federal court alleging the professor made inappropriate sexual comments to her on a daily basis.

Melissa Rose Walding Milligan of West Lafayette, Ohio, filed the suit, also naming the UI, claiming that officials incorrectly handled the situation. The lawsuit contends when she complained to the university about Weiger’s behavior, nothing was done.

Milligan’s lawsuit also claims when the UI conducted a private investigation, Weiger allegedly admitted to participating in the conversations and also said he inappropriately touched another student in front of a class.

Police were unable to provide further details on Wednesday evening.

Weiger kept his position at the UI after Milligan’s allegations and has been an active member of the local music community, playing his oboe in several performances including the faculty concert last May.

Since coming to Iowa in 1988, he has continued to perform internationally as a soloist in Italy and Brazil, among others, and has presented two Carnegie Hall recitals.

Weiger received his degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Julliard School.

A UI associate professor of music alerted his class of the suicide via e-mail on Wednesday afternoon. Canceling Thursday’s class, T.M. Scruggs wrote: “To all of you who knew Mark Weiger please accept my condolences and empathy, it’s quite a shock.”

About 100 students and faculty held an evening vigil for Weiger at Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College St.

With their heads down, several in attendance cried and observed a moment of silence and heard a prayer.

Provost Wallace Loh attended the service, along with Sam Cochran, director of UI counseling services.

“This is a sad day, and obviously a very hard time,” Cochran told the crowd. “Allow yourselves to grieve. Take it one step at a time.”

This story appears courtesy of The Daily Iowan.