Northeastern honors memory of Brandeis student who died in tragic bus crash

Group of people sitting for a vigil
Following this weekend’s tragic accident, members of the Northeastern community gathered in the Sacred Space in Ell Hall to stand in solidarity with the Brandeis community. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Members of the Northeastern University community came together on the Boston campus Monday to honor the memory of a Brandeis University student who died in a bus crash Saturday night.

Soo Laski, Northeastern’s assistant director of community and belonging, is a Brandeis graduate who lives near the site of the crash. She led attendees in a one-minute, 27-second moment of silence at the Sacred Space in Ell Hall. The amount of time represented the student, whom Brandeis has identified as undergraduate Vanessa Mark, and the 27 others who were injured in the crash.

Northeastern Chancellor Kenneth Henderson and Julie Rothhaar-Sanders, assistant vice chancellor for engagement, offered their condolences to the Brandeis and Northeastern communities.

“We wish to share our sorrow, our companionship with those at Brandeis University, and also at Northeastern University, who have been affected by the tragedy,” Henderson said.

“As Brandeis is part of our community, it also affected us,” Rothhaar-Sanders said. “So we want to extend our deepest condolences to our Brandeis neighbors and friends.”
Twenty-seven students were riding a shuttle bus from Boston to Brandeis’ Waltham, Massachusetts, campus when the bus ran into a tree late Saturday night, according to a Waltham Police Department statement. Twenty-six of the students and the driver “sustained injuries of varying degrees” in the crash, according to the statement. Mark was pronounced dead on the scene.

Northeastern executive director of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service Alexander Levering Kern, expressed solidarity with a university that he knows well. Kern was an interfaith chaplain at Brandeis University for six years.

“I know Brandeis well and love it deeply,” he said.

Kern invited members of the Northeastern community to sign a card for Brandeis that read “Northeastern Stands With You.”

Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz responded to the loss in a message to the community, calling Mark “an active and cherished member of the Brandeis community.” 

The university canceled Monday and Tuesday classes to allow students to spend more time with their loved ones during the Thanksgiving break.

“While this holiday may be difficult, it is my hope that spending time with loved ones will help us begin to heal,” Liebowitz said. “When we return from the break, I know our community will continue to come together in support of one another.”

No charges have been filed as a result of the crash, and an investigation is ongoing, the Waltham Police Department said. The department requests that anyone with information about the incident contact them at (781) 314-3600.

For students living in campus housing, Residential Life staff are available to engage in conversations with students and provide support resources. Additionally, confidential counseling is available for students and staff. Students can contact University Health and Counseling Services located on Forsyth Street or by calling 617-373-2772.

UHCS also has a mental health support service called Find@Northeastern that offers students access to a licensed mental health clinician at any time from any location in the world by calling 877-233-9477 (U.S.), 855-229-8797 (Canada) and +1-781-457-7777 (International).

Student support is also available from the Center for Spirituality Dialogue and Service at 617-373-2728, and from the We Care team in Student Affairs at or 617-373-7591. Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program at 800-624-5544.

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