Thursday, May 03, 2007

Twice in one school year

SMU freshman found dead in dorm room

06:20 AM CDT on Thursday, May 3, 2007
By HOLLY K. HACKER / The Dallas Morning News

A freshman at Southern Methodist University died Wednesday for unknown reasons, campus officials said Wednesday.

Jordan Crist, 19, was pronounced dead at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas at 11:05 a.m., two hours after a student found him unresponsive in a friend's dorm room on campus, according to SMU spokeswoman Patti LaSalle. The cause of death is unknown, but foul play is not suspected, she said.

Mr. Crist, who is from Hinsdale, Ill., was a pre-business major in Dedman College, SMU's liberal arts college.

Ms. LaSalle said that SMU police and University Park paramedics tried to resuscitate Mr. Crist before he was taken to Presbyterian Hospital. The Dallas County medical examiner is investigating the cause of death.

This is the second time an SMU student has died on campus this school year. In December, Jacob Stiles was found dead in his room at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on campus. The medical examiner later determined that Mr. Stiles, a sophomore from Naperville, Ill., had accidentally overdosed on a mixture of cocaine, alcohol and the synthetic opiate fentanyl.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, so sad. The same thing happened recently at Rice University. His brother found him in his dorm at 7:30 a.m. They are still investigating the cause of death.

Not sure if it was drugs or not. Maybe a combination of alcohol and something else?

This is scary.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous renita said...

boy ... what's with the dead guys from upscale chicago suburbs??? hinsdale is rich people central, and naperville ain't exactly the ghetto either.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And again, of course, we will be told that what has happened has nothing to do with what a brutally self-important, callous, and morally (and financially) bankrupt place SMU has become.

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10:43 AM  
Anonymous lin said...


It has nothing to do with what SMU does. I highly doubt administrators forced alcohol down his throat. Sorry to say, but I have friends at other universities who have seen far more many "morally bankrupt" acts than I have at SMU.

From what I've heard, there were no illegal drugs involved in this incident, but alcohol was involved. I don't know how accurate that is.

Supposedly he was a great guy. I really feel for his family and friends.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It has nothing to do with what SMU does."

...for the second time this academic year.

"I highly doubt administrators forced alcohol down his throat."

...that's right: in practice they permit an environment where no force is necssary--for the second time this academic year.

"I have friends at other universities who have seen far more many "morally bankrupt" acts than I have at SMU."

...well, that makes everything all right then--for the second time this academic year.

Sigh. I never cease to be amazed by the negligent "logic" used to support this place's special brand of inhumanity.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous lin said...

Actually, SMU has the strongest alcohol policies I've seen (in Texas colleges) - aside from Austin College in Sherman. Kids are going to drink, and unfortunately, some will drink themselves to death. It's tragic and awful, but it will happen regardless of the school.

You can blame SMU all you want. And I'm not denying that there are some "morally bankrupt" individuals -- such as the ones described in stories previously on this website. I've met one, maybe two. Perhaps I've been lucky in avoiding them, but SMU is no more morally bankrupt than any other university. I have a feeling you are just against their conservative politics -- as am I -- and are using it as an excuse to hate everything about the school.

Obviously, I wouldn't be at this website if I didn't enjoy Prof's stories. I'm not saying SMU is oh, so perfect -- just that this tragic death is NOT SMU's fault, but instead the fault of overdrinking.

I'm sorry you think I have flawed logic, I don't see what SMU could possibly do to prevent overdrinking, other than basically searching for drunk, underage students and handing out numerous alcohol violations (to a nearly absurd extent) -- which they already do. What would you suggest? I'm not trying to be rude; I'm just curious what policies you think they could change to prevent this from happening again.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

I agree with lin... How is this the University's fault. If anything it is his parents fault, they didn't raise a kid who was taught thoroughly enough about a thing called consequence and self control. To be fair, we all do stupid shit, some of us are just unfortunate to die because of it. Then we have the pleasure of becoming a statistic, a rather worthless and wasteful way to die.
I know I'm an asshole, but I fail to see the tragedy. You play with shit, you risk getting some on your hands. Lock yourself up in a tanning booth to be pretty, you can get cancer and die. Binge drink, it can get out of hand and you can die. I don't doubt that I'll again, one day, make the mistake of making a conscious decision that puts my life in danger. If I die because of it, I don't want the cries of "It's so unfair, he was such a special who can I blame?" Not all of us get the pleasure of being heroes or victims.

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not about policies or rules, or policing, or whatever else is on paper to cover asses legally. It's about local culture. And culture takes generations to build and to change. I expect that there's not a few folks up there on the hill who think it's kinda cool that people are partying so hard that they risk life and limb: "this ain't no place for sissies; if you can't stand the heat, get out; rules are for losers."

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"this tragic death is NOT SMU's fault, but instead the fault of overdrinking"

Yep, just another isolated incident.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SMU could hold classes until final exams start. The "reading days" become party days. Both of the deaths took place between the time classes ended and finals started.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crist died for SMU's sins?

8:58 AM  
Anonymous lin said...

They could hold classes until final exams start, but I haven't heard of a university that does. I don't know about everybody else, but I use those days to study my ass off and I would miss them if they were gone... especially since this semester I had 4 papers, 4 tests, and a project all within a week and a half. I'm not even one of those students who is taking 18 hours - I'm only taking 12. I need those two days, and if I need them then I'm guessing A LOT of other people do too.

Anybody who suggests that this is SMU's fault has seriously failed logic. That's like saying it's Illinois' fault. I mean, after all, two Illinois residents died twice for the second time in an academic year. I could just as easily use your statements to argue that. I'm pretty sure we all agree that this has nothing to do with the Chicago suburbs they were raised in. Nobody has told me exactly why we would blame SMU for this. The only reason why I'm still arguing is because I can't see how you guys are coming to that conclusion.

I asked honestly what SMU could have done to prevent this tragedy, and only one person even suggested a solution. Sadly, overdrinking happens every day of the year at every university. If it's not going to happen on SMU's reading days, it will happen another day at another university. I'll even admit that I have binge drank before. It's not something I'm proud of, but it has happened a couple of times. It wasn't SMU's influence. In fact, it started before I has even decided what college to attend. It was my own "nothing-can-happen-to-me" teenage attitude. It's scary to think, but it could have just as easily been me. (Now that I'm 21, I've wisened up a bit.) You can't blame it on me growing up rich, either, because I didn't. I've had a job since I was in high school and the only thing my parents give me money for is my tuition. But, according to your logic, I must be morally bankrupt and self-important.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous lin said...

I apologize. The last part of what I just typed does not apply because I misinterpreted your morally bankrupt comment. I should have reread your first comment before replying.

My point was, this behavior can and does exist outside of SMU. It doesn't make it better (in fact, I think it's stupid and obviously dangerous), but it also doesn't explain why you're putting blame on SMU, since it can happen absolutely anywhere.

I could also argue that since I've entered SMU (but more importantly the Greek system at SMU), I have drank less, done less dangerous things, and done better in school. I think SMU and my sorority have actually helped me become a better person. It could have to do with my growing up, but I will fight for SMU students to the death -- they are nothing like I expected them to be. I went in to this university thinking the same things. I dropped out of the school initially without making any friends because I refused to give these students a chance. When I ended up re-enrolling, I looked past the common stereotypes and found that the majority of these students are actually good people deep down. While the morally-bankrupt students highlighted in Prof's blog DO exist, I have been lucky to find that the majority of students I meet are not like this.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't like SMU's politics. I'll also admit that money DOES matter to the administrators at SMU. I just cannot see how this means they are causing the death of students.

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"two Illinois residents died twice for the second time in an academic year"

"I have binge drank before"

"since I've entered SMU (but more importantly the Greek system at SMU), I have drank less"

Just make sure not to wake up dead for the third time, okay?

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you are going to blame SMU for these two deaths, then by this logic do you also blame Virginia Tech for the deaths at their school? And my university because someone committed suicide?? That just seems ridiculous to blame an institution with numerous students for two students' personal actions.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

This same sort of thing happened when my cousin went missing for a few days and was found dead from heart failure on the side of the road. Needless to say it was from drugs.
At his funeral, at a hardcore Baptist Church, not a single thing was talked about how wonderful of a person he was or how he'll be missed. Instead the minister lectured all the kids about the sins of drugs and blaming the media and society.

I didn't know my cousin very well but I knew he paid for his mistakes with his own life and the last things said before he went six feet underground was probably the same BS that made him do drugs to begin with... a bunch of bickering from people arguing whose fault our kids' problems are. It seems like everyone here has their own little tid-bit knowledge on drug-use. Let me ask you this... where is YOUR kid right now?

This is why stupid rules are created. Blame blame blame.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Ragman said...

[quote]They could hold classes until final exams start, but I haven't heard of a university that does. I don't know about everybody else, but I use those days to study my ass off and I would miss them if they were gone...[/quote]
UT Dallas runs classes up to the day before finals start. No dead time, and some classes have you turn in assignments/homework when you show up for the final exam.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Lin said...


I didn't realize that as I don't know anybody that goes to UTD. My apologies. I would definitely miss those two days if they were gone, as I use them for what they are intended for, but if it works for other universities, I don't see why SMU couldn't do the same thing. We may never know if it would actually prevent a death (maybe it wouldn't) but I'd rather SMU be safe than sorry (again)...

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

As an RA that busted Jordan for alcohol during the first night of TRAINING / my first night as an RA[/violation of ferpa], I can refute the argument that SMU "breeds" alcoholics/drug users. He seemed like a lovable guy from the limited and negative interaction that I had with him, but his death was most-assuredly not a result of the environment of SMU. It's also evidenced in the pathetic "RIP" tribute on his posthumous facebook wall- where he's cited as "the best beer pong partner ever" by friends from high school.

With that said:
Anonymous is fucking ignorant. When you state that "...that's right: in practice they permit an environment where no force is necssary--for the second time this academic year." you imply that our Dry County and Over-Policing (I'm a fucking RA for Christ's sake, I think I've got a better idea of how the system works than your stereotypical fantasy). In addition - you seem to be very sheltered by the bubble system of SMU if you believe that 2 deaths (now 3, since they found Meaghan in a port-o-potty earlier) in a year is a large number for a university, you're sorely mistaken. At least our Greeks don't hack our girlfriends to bits, bag them up, and place them on their parents' doorsteps...a la UT.

To address reading days: the teachers fought hard to get them for us, and deem them necessary for preparation for the finals that THEY WRITE. Jordan and Jacob weren't the type of guys that utilized them.

If you wanted to make a solid argument, reference Jacob's case - and his use of fentanyl. As someone that's worked in cancer research/a cancer research clinic thrice, I'll be the first to tell you that fentanyl is nasty - you eat a Big Mac and you die. That's why it's pretty much reserved for terminal cancer patients.

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is this SMU's fault? Stop blaming the institution and blame the individual. He was not a child that didnt understand the consequences of alcohol, he was an adult.

SMU does more to protect against such incidents compared to other schools. We even have to do mandatory online alcohol program for all entering students! You cant expect the university to hold your hand through everything.

Give me a break. It's the kid's fault for making stupid decisions.

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any statistics on death rates in other Dallas colleges? Seems like SMU is attracting a pretty self-destructive crowd these days.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, this young man had diabetes insipidus, which means his body literally cannot ascertain when it is "quenched" and is constantly seeking more liquid. A very common side effect is that too much liquid (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) is imbibed and the victim might succumb to what's known as water intoxication. Don't paint all tragedies with one brush - his family deserves better. Learn more at Signed, "Dr. J."

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