Circus Subsiding, the Med Campus Remains Subdued
Few express fear, but many are shocked by student’s arrest
In the days after a School of Medicine student was charged with murder, the Medical Campus has been neither frenzied nor business-as-usual. As the hours pass, final exams loom closer, and the media circus departs, students seem to be settling, incorporating horrible news into an always busy daily routine.
But the dominant feeling remains one of shock, the first wave passing over campus on Monday night, when the story broke that Philip Markoff, a second-year MED student, had been arrested for the murder of 26-year-old masseuse Julissa Brissman.
“People are definitely talking about it, but I don’t think they are scared to the point that they are going to be next,” says Priti Rawani (MED’10). “I just can’t believe he studied here and went to school with us.”
“It’s scary, but nothing has really changed,” adds a Boston Medical Center employee who prefers not to be named. “I always look over my shoulder.”
Others seem relieved. “I haven’t really talked to anyone about it yet, but there must be people who have been in his classes,” says Allyce Caines (MED’12), who is in the same program as Markoff. “I’m just glad they know who he is and they got him.”
On Tuesday, Markoff pleaded not guilty, and his fiancée, Megan McAllister, wrote an e-mail to ABC’s Good Morning America saying he “could not hurt a fly.”
In the streets surrounding the Medical Campus, people seem more willing to share their thoughts. Melissa Gallant, an employee of Blunch Restaurant on Harrison Avenue, isn’t surprised. “People think it’s so strange that this sort of thing happens,” she says, “but sometimes people just snap.”
Her sentiments echo a story published Wednesday in the Boston Globe, which quotes Markoff’s lab partner as saying he suffered from violent mood swings. Other media outlets have cited a gambling problem as a potential motive.
But no one associated with the BU Medical Campus wants to comment on his guilt or innocence, constrained both by legalities (University administrators and faculty are not allowed to talk about most aspects of a student’s personal life), and by decorum. Standing outside the MED building in a light drizzle, a Hartford Courant reporter sums it up: “Yes, people are talking about it, but no one really wants to talk about it.”
Brendan Gauthier contributed to this report.
Edward A. Brown can be reached at email@example.com Comments