Northeastern graduate student run over by Seattle police to receive posthumous degree

Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old Northeastern graduate student, was killed on Jan. 23 when a Seattle police officer slammed his speeding SUV into her in a crosswalk near NU's Seattle campus.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Northeastern University says it's planning to award a master's degree posthumously to the young woman who was killed by a speeding police car in Seattle.

The university said Thursday in a statement posted online that it plans to present Jaahnavi Kandula's degree to her family, adding that the 23-year-old's friends and loved ones have recently endured additional pain because of new developments nearly eight months after her tragic death.



Watch NBC10 Boston news for free, 24/7, wherever you are.


Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.

Kandula was killed on Jan. 23 when Officer Kevin Dave slammed his SUV into the graduate student in a crosswalk near Northeastern's Seattle campus. The case has received renewed attention in the past week, however, after video was released showing another officer joking about Kandula's death.

In a recording released by the police department on Monday, Officer Daniel Auderer laughs and suggests Kandula’s life had “limited value” and the city should just write a check for $11,000.

Auderer, the vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild and a drug recognition expert, had responded to the crash to evaluate whether Dave was impaired, The Seattle Times reported. Dave had been driving 74 mph in a 25 mph zone on the way to an overdose call.

Auderer left his body-worn camera on as he called the police department union's president to report what happened.

“Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26 anyway,” Auderer said to Mike Solan, inaccurately stating Kandula's age. “She had limited value.”

Northeastern's chancellor and senior vice president of learning, Kenneth Henderson, said Thursday that the "callous and insensitive remarks" by the police officer has reopened wounds and deepened the collective heartbreak since becoming public.

"We also recognize that our Indian student community—across all Northeastern campuses—has been especially impacted by this tragedy and its aftermath," Henderson addd. "We stand in solidarity with you and have every expectation that the ongoing investigations will bring a measure of justice and accountability."

Outrage has grown across the world since the video's release. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is conducting a criminal review of the crash, while a city watchdog agency is investigating what was captured on the body-worn camera.

The university said at the time of Kandula's death that the NU graduate student was tremendously engaged with the school and that all on the Seattle campus “loved her bubbly laugh, sense of humor and infectious personality."

According to the chancellor, 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),and 1-781-457-7777 (Intl.). Student support is also available through the We Care team in Student Life at or 617-373-7591 as well through the Student Affairs team on the Seattle campus at

"Northeastern is, first and foremost, a community... 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," the chancellor said, adding that they'll be holding campus gatherings next week.

Details will be provided soon by Student Life and campus deans, he added.

Kandula was from Andhra Pradesh, a state in India’s southern coastal region. Relatives told The Seattle Times that Kandula came to Seattle so she could one day support her mother back home in India. Kandula was on track to receive a master’s in information systems this December from the Seattle campus of Northeastern University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Contact Us