University of Michigan alumni DeAndree Watson, Central Student Government president from 2011 to 2012, was found dead in his car on Sunday morning on the 37400 Block of Willow Lane in Westland, Mich.
After graduating from the University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Watson served on the Detroit City Council as a policy analyst and worked closely with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Councilman James Tate. According to a statement from Tate, Watson was recently accepted into the University of Michigan Law School.
During his time at the University, Watson was involved on campus as a member of the Black Student Union, College Democrats, the Dean of Students advisory board, the University Chapter of the NAACP and Mustard Seed Campus Ministry.
Duggan posted to Facebook Monday morning about Watson’s passing and the impact that he had through his public service in Detroit.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of DeAndree Watson,” Duggan wrote. “DeAndree was a brilliant policy analyst who worked in the Office of Councilman James Tate. I got to know DeAndree as we worked together on the City of Detroit’s marijuana ordinance, spearheaded by Councilman Tate. DeAndree was one of Detroit’s rising leaders with a deep commitment to public service and the city he called home. I extend my deepest condolences to DeAndree’s family, friends, Councilman James Tate, Detroit City Council and his many colleagues at the City of Detroit.”
Councilman Tate also released a statement about the seven years he had known and worked with Watson and the impact he made on Detroit.
“It is with great sadness that I share the tragic passing of my team member and friend, DeAndree Watson,” the statement read. “This year has been challenging to say the least, but never did I imagine losing someone so integral to our office and our city… so soon. DeAndree was the epitome of a leader and was often the first person to volunteer whenever he was needed. His impact goes well beyond our office as he brought greatness to everything he was involved in. DeAndree was well on his way to further shape our world and I’m truly heartbroken that we won’t get to witness more of his journey.”
Officers suspect Watson’s death to be a result of a homicide. Deontez Jones, an associate of Watson, was also found dead Sunday in a nearby apartment from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Current CSG President Amanda Kaplan and Vice President Sav Nandigama released a statement on Wednesday signed by every CSG and CSA president dating back to 1998.
“DeAndree’s advocacy and leadership continues to positively impact the Michigan student experience,” the statement read. “During his time, DeAndree advocated for undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition, installed 18 new water refill stations across campus, doubled the child care stipend available to graduate students, and spearheaded efforts to get the University to create a gender-neutral housing pilot program.”
Nandigama also told The Daily in an interview that Watson continued his work after graduation and emphasized that he will be remembered by his positive personality.
“He is very obviously a remarkable individual,” Nandigama said. “His accomplishments did not end with CSG. He was a very bright positive light that I know changed a lot of people’s lives because of everything he did so it is very, very sad.”
Summer News Editor Sarah Payne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.