The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 59.0°F | Overcast

Student falls from balcony

By Reuven M. Lerner

David G. Moore '91, a mechanical engineering major from Blacksburg, VA, died at approximately 6:15 pm on July 4 after falling from a fifth-floor Senior House balcony.

Several sources said Moore apparently jumped off the balcony while under the influence of LSD. One individual said Moore "had a very bad reaction" to a dose of the drug, and others agreed that he probably jumped to stop the drug's effect.

The county coroner classified the death as an accident, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs Robert M. Randolph confirmed that it was not a suicide.

Randolph, as well as many other Institute officials, would not confirm or deny the extremely widespread reports that Moore jumped from the balcony after taking LSD. While Randolph admitted that there were "allegations of drug involvement," he said he was "not at liberty" to discuss them.

Deputy Campus Police Chief James F. Mahoney, Jr. would not comment until the medical examiner's report is released in several weeks. "The medical examiner will tell us what's in his body," he added.

Professor James T. Higginbotham, the Senior House housemaster, said that a nearby campus policeman called a paramedic immediately after Moore fell, but "there was nothing that could have been done." "He was pronounced dead before 7 pm at Mass. General [hospital]," Higginbotham said.

Moore was buried near his home last Wednesday. Approximately 12 of his friends from MIT, as well as Higginbotham, attended the funeral. Moore is survived by his father, John Moore SM '69, his mother, Joan G. Moore '64 and a half-brother, Stephen A. Kukolich '86.

"A real tragedy"

Moore was known as an exceptionally friendly, bright person who always tried to help others. He was elected house president during his sophomore year, and went on to become president of the Dormitory Council.

Moore's academic advisor, Professor Roger D. Kamm, described him as "the strong, very intelligent, silent type . . . it was very clear that there was a lot going on in his head." Kamm added that Moore "obviously did well in his coursework."

Higginbotham said that he and his wife "were great admirers of David." "At the time he was chosen president . . . we had just arrived, and we didn't really know him at all. But as soon as we saw him in action, I was very impressed with him as a leader."

"He put considerable responsibility on his own shoulders for being a spokesman for the house," Higginbotham added.

Fellow students were obviously shocked by his death. "Everyone in the dorm knew him," said Amie J. F. B. Strong '92.

"You can think of a couple of people [who are] reckless -- Dave was not one of them," said Nicole D. Delaney '92.

Libby Turowski, one of the graduate tutors in the entry where Moore lived, called his death "a real tragedy." "He was one of the students that dropped by, and brought other students by," she added.

Delaney said that "we would like to have a memorial service in the fall, so that his friends from other dorms can come." She suggested that students might place a memorial plaque in the courtyard, where Moore often relaxed on the swing.