The Search for Harsha Maddula: This is not about you

The Daily Northwestern Editorial Board
September 27, 2012 •

In the past, Daily staffs have used editorials to speak from our position as journalists in an attempt to reshape or add a new perspective to campus debates. Today, we speak as students heartbroken over the disappearance of one of our own, and we have a plea: If you know something about the disappearance of Harsha Maddula, speak up.

If you have information that might help us locate the McCormick sophomore — you saw him early Saturday morning, or you heard someone talking about him before his friends lost contact with him — you may be afraid. Maybe you were drinking underage. Maybe you don’t want your name in national news stories. Maybe you worry about being implicated in a terrible situation. But this isn’t about you.

Every minute that Harsha is missing is another one of anguish for his family and friends, many of whom have put their lives on hold to come to Evanston and look for their beloved son, nephew, cousin, friend. It is another minute that a diabetic may not have the medicine he needs to survive. It is another minute that our community remains incomplete.

This could have happened to any one of us. From what we know, Harsha followed appropriate steps to have a safe night out: he was not drinking heavily, he traveled in a group and he stayed in contact with friends as he walked between locations. Many of us have done the same or worse and still gotten home safely.

We are encouraged by the unity the NU community has shown in the wake of Harsha’s disappearance. University officials have offered protection to students wishing to report information anonymously. Student groups have canceled meetings and joined search parties instead. Freshmen who arrived in Evanston seven short days ago have taken time out of their busy orientation schedules to look for someone they have never met, simply because he is a fellow Wildcat. Support has likewise poured in from beyond campus in both official and unofficial capacities, bolstering the strength of our search.

What troubles us is that the timeline of Sept. 22 remains unclear — some crucial piece of the puzzle is missing. We join the calls asking students to aid the investigation in any way possible. The search for Harsha should be prioritized over everything else happening on campus. We do not expect students to skip their first classes or ignore their responsibilities — we, after all, will continue to publish a daily newspaper — but if you have time, we hope that you will join the rest of the NU community in helping to bring Harsha home.

If you have any information relating to Harsha’s whereabouts, contact University Police at 847-491-3254.

This editorial is the opinion of the following members of The Daily's editorial board: Marshall Cohen, Devan Coggan, Michele Corriston, Joseph Diebold,  Susan Du, Mariam Gomaa, Paulina Firozi, Kaitlyn Jakola, Tanner Maxwell, Tom Meyer, Kimmy Railey and Patrick Svitek.

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