April 17, 2024


Jaahnavi Kandula, the 23-year-old Indian graduate student fatally struck by a police vehicle in Seattle, will be awarded a master’s degree posthumously, Northeastern University has announced.

Driving the news: Kandula, who arrived at the university’s Seattle campus as an exchange student in 2021, was set to graduate with a master’s degree in information systems in December. Unfortunately, she was killed by a speeding police car driven by Officer Kevin Dave on Jan. 23.

The case returned to the headlines last week after Seattle police released bodycam footage that recorded controversial remarks made by Officer Daniel Auderer, who was responding to the incident. In it, Auderer can be heard laughing while talking about Kandula, saying she had “limited value” and advising someone to “just write a check.”

What the university is saying: In a statement, Chancellor and Senior Vice President of Learning Kenneth W. Henderson announced that the university plans to award Kandula’s degree posthumously and present it to her family. Campus gatherings to unite the academic community will also be held this week.

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The latest: On Saturday evening, another rally was held at the site where Kandula had been fatally hit. Marchers demanded justice for the fallen student, carrying signs that said “Jaahnavi had more value than SPD” and “Justice for Jaahnavi, jail killer cops.”

Earlier that day, Seattle Bruce Harrell and Police Chief Adrian Diaz issued a public apology and expressed their condolences to Kandula’s loved ones.

“We had these insensitive comments and we want to work to ensure that that never, ever occurs; that we value human life; that we do not dehumanize others,” Diaz said.

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What’s next: The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is reportedly conducting a criminal review of the fatal incident, while the Office of Police Accountability is investigating the body cam footage. Auderer, for his part, has reportedly denied being insensitive to the incident, claiming he was trying to mock lawyers.

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