Aubrey Akers / Sun Staff Photographer

March 2, 2017

Students Mourn Death of Indian Immigrant Killed in Kansas

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Cornell students paid tribute to aviation engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was recently murdered in a shooting in Olathe, Kansas, at a vigil on Thursday.

Kuchibhotla, an Indian immigrant, worked for the U.S. GPS-maker Garmin and held a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Texas.

Eighteen people — 16 students, one member of the Asian American Society and an Ithaca native — lit candles to honor Kuchibhotla in Anabel Taylor Hall’s One World Room and shared their thoughts and fears regarding the new presidential administration.

Piragash Swargaloganathan ’19 and Aliza Adhami ’19 spoke about how they could “combat prejudice” and take “steps to make more students feel comfortable on campus.”

“This incident affects all of us,” Adhami said, “We need to actually show up to rallies and protests so that our voices can be heard.”

Shivani Parikh ’19 said that she was “proud to see so many students stand together” and “open up” about the “prejudice faced by all minorities on campus.”

“Crying won’t do much to fix the problem,” Parikh said. “Being here, we can appreciate the weight of this senseless murder and take time to understand what this terrible shooting means.”

Parikh and Hindu Student Council president Samir Durvasala ’17 organized the vigil in order to “raise awareness to the perception felt by many minorities.”

“The outpouring of care and support from the Cornell community and the fact that people are recognizing this as a real issue and something that deeply affects all Indian students really means a lot to me,” Parikh said. “I really appreciate all that was said at the vigil.”