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Concerns linger for international students following killing on Purdue campus

Residence Hall Association maintains this was an isolated incident and doesn't represent all international students
Picture of Varun and the vigil held for him
Posted at 11:40 PM, Oct 05, 2022

WEST LAFAYETTE — Dozens of students gathered around the unfinished Block P Statue at Purdue University Wednesday night.

It was the site of a vigil for 20-year-old Varun Chheda who was killed early Wednesday morning in his dorm room at McCutcheon Hall.

Purdue Police say the victim's roommate is responsible. Per WRTV policy, we're not naming the 22-year-old international student from South Korea until he is formally charged.

"Our campus is hurting right now. Everyone is scared. People needed to do something. They wanted to come out tonight and show their support," Claire Schnefke, the Residence Hall Association President, said.

Schnefke says the Residence Hall Association along with the Asian Student Union Board, put the vigil together. While the campus continues to grieve for Chheda, they're hoping the campus community as a whole understands this was an isolated incident.

"We certainly don't want to see any sort of outbreak of hatred directed toward Korean students at our university or international students at our university," Torin Vandervort, part of the Residence Hall Association, said.

Vandervort says they're concerned about this because of what they went through during the height of the pandemic.

"It's something we experienced a lot during Covid and with something like this, we definitely want to make sure we're staying together and there isn't racially motivated hatred on campus," Vandervort said.

Now, the campus community must find a way to move on from this tragedy. Those in charge want students and their parents to know, help will be there for everyone.

"Just remind everyone to take care of themselves, to reach out to a friend. We're all here together. This is our campus. We really just want to make sure everyone feels like they're at home in their residence hall," Schnefke said.

Online tributes are being posted for Chheda. The one below is from a school he attended.