Staff and students at the University of Leeds have held a memorial service to remember student Meridith Kercher, who was murdered in Italy on Friday 2 November.
The 21-year-old student was found dead in her apartment in Perugia where she was studying on exchange from Leeds as part of the ERASMUS program.
Around 120 people gathered at the university's Parkinson Building steps and held a silent procession to Tetley Garden, where candles and flowers were placed beside a picture of the young student.
A spokesperson of the Italian department at the university said: "The whole department is in shock that such a terrible thing should have happened. We will remember Meredith as a beautiful, clever and happy young woman, who was serious about her studies and popular with her peers."
Another memorial service is to be held in September when those currently on exchange programs, including many of Kercher’s friends, have returned.
Kercher’s American flatmate Amanda Knox, Knox’s Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Congolese bar owner Diya Lumumba have all been held on remand suspected of the student's murder. On Thursday 15 November, Italian police reported that the DNA of both Ms Kercher and Ms Knox had been found on a knife belonging to Mr Sollecito.
Further tests are being carried out by forensic experts to link the suspects with Ms Kercher’s death. All three deny any involvement.
Leeds students remaining in Perugia have been offered accommodation in all-female halls of residence or substitute placements elsewhere in Italy. Many have temporarily returned to the UK in the aftermath of the murder.
All other students from Leeds University who are based in the country have been offered the Italian department’s full support.
However, the murder has raised many questions over the ERASMUS program, particularly in Italy.
A student who had been on the programme told The Leeds Student: "Some of the Italian men were aggressive and there were often fights. When I got to Perugia I was told not to live in certain areas because in many ways Perugia is quite dangerous; it is in the middle of a major drug route into Europe."
The student added however that living in Perugia was, despite the negative aspects, one of the best times of his life.
Other students have expressed concerns at the accommodation being offered to students on the scheme.
Edinburgh University postgraduate student Chiara Pannozzo, who spent a year in Verona as part of her undergraduate course, told The Journal that she also experienced problems on her ERASMUS exchange. She said: "I didn’t feel safe at all; you don’t get any support from ERASMUS. Once you’re out there you’re on your own."
Asked if anything could be done to improve the service offered to foreign students, she added "It’s important to have a point of contact, if not from ERASMUS itself, somebody within the university that is dedicated to people from foreign institutions. I think you need more briefing on the area you’re going to and the facilities you’re getting."