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Statement on Harsha Maddula

Statement on the investigation into the death of Harsha Maddula

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February 26, 2013

We have been waiting for months to learn more details about the tragic loss of our student Harsha Maddula, and we have learned more this week about the circumstances of his death. On behalf of Northwestern University, I offer our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. As President Schapiro said last fall when we learned of Harsha’s death, the loss of one member of our community affects us all.

We are saddened by the fact that alcohol may have been a factor in Harsha’s death. Northwestern has long had in place policies and programs to address alcohol and substance abuse, including required alcohol education for all new students, intervention training for students, counseling services for alcohol and substance abuse problems, and disciplinary rules that address standards students are expected to meet.  The University continuously assesses how to address this problem, which is not unique to Northwestern, and as part of that effort, funds academic research into substance abuse and related problems on college and university campuses. 

This should be a time for all of us to learn from the most difficult of losses, to reflect on what each of us can do to reduce harmful behavior and to take care of each other. I would like to remind you of the services and programs available to students if there is a need to continue healing or to address concerns around substance abuse. The Counseling and Psychological Services office is a resource on campus available to assist.  

Again, we extend our sincere condolences to Harsha’s family and to his friends here at Northwestern.

Patricia Telles-Irvin
Vice President for Student Affairs