BREAKING: Student found dead in apartment

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mapA recent Columbia grad emailed Bwog with the following tip:


A Columbia student in her early 20’s was found dead in her apartment at 435 Riverside Drive, Apartment 22. The EMTs found her there — they got a call at 12:38 p.m. about a possible cardiac arrest — and said the place smelled awful and she’d probably been dead for a few days.  They suspect suicide, but can’t be sure, as they found her dead on the floor and cause of death hasn’t been confirmed. The building’s security guard confirmed that the woman was a Columbia student.

Stand by as the story develops and be sure to send any tips to 

UPDATE 1:25 PM: Bwog just got off the phone with Public Safety, who is not commenting. The have confirmed that there has been “a situation” at that address. 

UPDATE 2:02 PM: More from our tipster: “The girl was apparently Italian and she was found by her roommate/subletting landlord.”

UPDATE 9:44 AM: More from our tipster: “Apparently, the student was subletting either the whole or part of the apt at 435 Riverside. The person she was subletting from came home after being gone for several days and found her lying dead on the floor of one of the back rooms, possibly her bedroom. According to this person, the girl had said she was extremely depressed the last time she was seen. Thus, the suspicion of suicide (which of course cannot be proved or disproved without an actual autopsy).”



  1. Confidentiality

    The EMT didn't name names, but what is the policy on confidentiality?

    Are EMTs allowed to alert the media when they receive unusual calls -- particularly when they are then officially identified as "Columbia EMTs"?

  2. cupcake  

    how sad :( please keep this student in your thoughts and prayers.

  3. former cava

    Actually, no. As an EMT you are not allowed to release names, especially to the media. usually hospitals and universities have PR people who can handle this in an appropriate, HIPPA-approved manner

    • umm...  

      i dont think #1 was saying the EMT should have released the name, but rather that the EMT should not have even reported about what happened

    • Confidentiality

      That's what I thought.

      Like I said, he didn't name names, but considering he gave a complete address, it wouldn't take very much effort to find out the identity of the victim, thus violating her (and her family's) privacy rights.

  4. former cava

    OH! Whoa. No, that person is probably getting kicked off asap

  5. horrible

    I really hope it wasn't suicide. :(

  6. Wow

    Is this seriously how Bwog is getting its information, second-hand from [redacted by staff], who has some information but is hypothesizing/guessing/making shit up about others?
    This seems really sketch. Why can't you guys check with the police department or something to find out what's going on and stop printing rumor?

  7. wow  

    dead for a few days and an awful smell when she has a roommate? some roomie...

  8. Question

    Has this post been edited from originally attributing the tip to an EMT? Because otherwise the comments make no sense...

    Also, this is terrible.

    • Wow

      Why indeed it has! The original post mentioned the EMT by name. I like this——I complain about the journalistic integrity of the piece, and so, in order to make the piece more credible and journalistically acceptable, Bwog makes the source anonymous. Smoooooth.

      (Yes, I understand that y'all probably did at the request of the source to protect him from losing his job with CAVA. That's nice and all but, again, raises concerns about credibility and such. (i.e. another reason one might not want his name associated with the article is because it might not be true, etc.)

      • Aside

        From anything else, Bwog could have at least had the courtesy to say something like 'Edited at request of source'. Just so that people like me don't think we're crazy for not understanding what the hell people are talking about in the comments.

      • Juli

        We removed all allusions to and mentions of the original source as to avoid speculation about the source, who yes, later requested anonymity. (However, it looks as if that sort of discussion is inevitable anyway.)

        The removal of the source's name has nothing to do with boosting the "credibility" of the piece, Bwog's policy is to remove any name that appears in the comments or the blog at that person's request.

        • thats fine

          You just need to say so when you do that if comments left up reflect the original post.

        • Still Wow

          Here's the thing: I generally think that's a good policy. (Less so when somebody gives the tip freely and without restriction than when somebody is being targeted, but as a Columbian I am very glad that Bwog has it.) I just wish that there was a better way to balance the understanding that these are students/young kids (though less so in this case) who Bwog wants to protect with the notion that I want to be able to trust what I read here. If Bwog is going to be a place where people go for facts, I don't really want to hear whatever unconfirmed things gossiping CAVA guy (doesn't that in and of itself raise questions about his validity? Plus, I know the guy, and while he's nice enough, I definitely question things he says.) says, and I generally don't trust anonymous tipsters. In short, I wish that Bwog was doing more to be a place where good journalistic practices are used.
          That said, I'm sorry for how my comments came off earlier. I do value Bwog's role on campus and just want it to be better at what it does, and feel bad that I came off as an ill-wishing malcontent earlier.

  9. journalism

    blah blah blah blah

  10. there was also an

    edit early on that first implied (although did not state) that the tipster was from CAVA. This was quickly amended.

  11. bwog

    summer housing improvements are up, and the 3 woodbridge apts are pretty cool

  12. ...

    so, um, any updates on this or are you going to let it fade away like your failing to put up a correction on the botched subway entrance photo?

  13. Juli

    To #27: Sorry, I had to your delete comment because it contained the full name of the tipster who requested anonymity.

    To everyone else: Comment #27 read:
    "Kudos to Bwog on having a good tipster, but how is [redacted] not getting fired over this?"

    • wow

      Fair enough, I guess.

      I understand Bwog's policy on redaction when a student is being maligned in the comments section, but why withhold the name of someone who originally volunteered it (and a journalist who has some experience with this, no less)? If a tipster flouts the protocols of his employer—by name—without even stopping to consider the consequences, why does he deserve to be free of accountability? That level of incompetence seems newsworthy in itself.

      Then again, as per #19, I guess it doesn't matter if his namely is known widely anyway.

  14. Give me a break

    I understand that fraud has shaken up the journalism world in recent years to the point that there has been a concerted effort to be transparent about sources and the like, but how can you all suggest that it isn't important to report news as it breaks? I feel like the negative commentary Bwog receives truly represents a very small percentage of total readership, likely composed of Spec people and other so-called "journalists" who fear the ongoing information-sharing revolution, where an individual need not be an insider working in the newspaper industry to share what he/she knows to the whole world. Am I suggesting that people should not read blogs (like this one) with a healthy dose of skepticism? Of course not. But if you still take every word in newspapers as unbiased truth, then you may be naive, or over the age of 50. Bwog is run by students, and it will occasionally have mistakes/oversights, but so will Spec, and so will the New York Times. Mark my words, then- it is here to stay. Don't fear technology, journalists; embrace it.

  15. Anonymous  

    But the real question is: Where's the Sex and the City coverage?

  16. Hey all

    Can we forget about our fucked up notions of 'journalism' and please, please let the family of the student be informed before you post the exact address and apartment?

    Imagine happening on this post, thinking how horrible it is, and then looking at your son/daughter's address and realizing that there's a 50% chance your child is dead. Break news, not time-sensitive information.

    • ...

      agreed. bad call kids, bad call...

      • yeah

        The irresponsibility here is pretty mindblowing. I mean, we haven't even gotten emails about this yet, and if this post is to be believed someone at public safety has known about this for over a day...

        • oh man

          im sure chris columbo is licking his lips, ready to spring into action with some grief counseling. that man is like the grim reaper himself.

        • Alum

          Why should undergrads expect official emails about a grad student's death - especially when the cause has yet to be determined? Given the number of grad students at Columbia (over 20,000, including those at TC), two or three probably die in a typical year. The entire university community should only be alerted if there is reason to think others may be at risk or if the circumstances are likely to disturb a great many people. So far neither of these justifications seems to be present.

        • Are you kidding me?

          What a ridiculous exaggeration. What percentage of parents do you think even know that Bwog exists, let alone check it regularly, let alone check it regularly during the summer? It's mind-blowing to me that you could cite such a stupid hypothetical situation as a reason that Bwog shouldn't've reported this. Giving the exact apartment is a bit bizarre, I admit, but reporting this story in general is entirely appropriate.

  17. no coverage of

    the crane collapse on the UES?

  18. two words

    google cache, guys

    • yikes  

      That totally worked. Bummer for non-anon tipster.

      Also, I will now have zero sympathy if said EMT loses their job, because they absolutely should have known better than to leak stuff to the media using their real name. I mean, come on. If you simply have to make a career-threatening tip, at least do so from a fake email account so that even the tipee doesn't know who you are. Drr.

  19. speaking on tips

    what did the leper say to the hooker?

    keep the tip!

  20. My $0.02

    it's amazing how easily columbia students get side-tracked into semantics. it seems like we'd rather stray from what's important if there's even a chance that we can begin / win some kind of comment thread argument: the tips. bwog's journalistic integrity. how the tipster should or shoudn't have behaved.... these are all incredibly irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.

    One of our peers is dead, and though I probably did not know her, I am genuinely sorry for tremendous pain that her friends and family are experiencing right now. Rest in peace

  21. sfsfsdfdsdsfa

    what did the hooker say to the leper?

    thanks for giving me that head

  22. yo yo yo

    what did the hooker leper hooker leper hooker leper hooker say to each other?

    sexual organs are falling off one person is paying the other for intercourse to be conducted

  23. Chuck Porter

    You know what they say about blind prostitutes... really have to hand it to them!

  24. hey bwog  

    you guys should really consider not using the "BREAKING" bit in your headlines....considering this is your only update in days and it's really not BREAKING anymore....

  25. ...

    Public Safety should at least confirm or deny whether somebody died. I understand if they don't want to release details yet until they get in touch with the family but this is kinda ridiculous...

  26. Bwog,  

    Go to the article: Political Endorsement: Marcus Johnson for City Council!

    and delete the last comment.

  27. please  

    take down the "BREAKING," or else update it....

  28. ...

    BREAKING: Story about student found dead in apartment is no longer breaking...

  29. ...

    It's funny that Bwog recently said it would continue updating regularly throughout the summer... hmmm.

  30. huh?  

    The "EMT" in question was not only not an EMT (he did work for an emergency medical service though) but was definitely not on CAVA. I have no clue where these rumors came from, but 911 was called (as you would expect) and not Public Safety, so a 911-dispatched unit responded, not CAVA.

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