Statement from the Office of the Chancellor

To all members of the Northeastern community:

As many of you know, last January our student Jaahnavi Kandula was killed when she was struck by a police cruiser near Northeastern’s Seattle campus. In the days following this tragedy, our Seattle campus community joined together in a vigil of remembrance and solidarity. At the time, our dean Dave Thurman wrote of Jaahnavi’s tremendous engagement, noting that all on our Seattle campus, “loved her bubbly laugh, sense of humor and infectious personality. Her loss will be felt deeply by students, staff, and faculty.” The university plans to award Jaahnavi her degree posthumously and present it to her family.

This week, Jaahnavi’s friends and loved ones are enduring the additional pain of new developments related to this tragedy. Callous and insensitive remarks by a Seattle police officer have become public, reopening wounds and deepening our collective heartbreak. We also recognize that our Indian student community—across all Northeastern campuses—has been especially impacted by this tragedy and its aftermath. We stand in solidarity with you and have every expectation that the ongoing investigations will bring a measure of justice and accountability.

Northeastern is, first and foremost, a community. Our pursuit of knowledge is infinitely enriched by one another—by the thousands of learners and educators who make up our global family. When a group of us are experiencing anguish, we are all in pain. These are the times that we must draw strength from each other and move forward in unity. Next week, we will convene campus gatherings to allow our community to join together in harmony. Details will be provided soon by Northeastern Student Life and respective campus deans.

Northeastern provides a 24/7 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), +1.781.457.7777 (Intl.). Student support is also available from the We Care team in Student Life at or 617.373.7591 as well through the Student Affairs team on the Seattle campus at Faculty and Staff can contact the employee assistance program at New Directions at 800.624.5544.

Please join me in extending our heartfelt condolences to Jaahnavi’s family and friends.


Kenneth W. Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President of Learning