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Which Columbia Professor Canceled Class Because They Poisoned Themselves With Cyanide? An Investigation

On Monday, a Columbia student tweeted that their professor canceled class because they poisoned themselves with cyanide. Here is our story.

by Caroline Haskins
Sep 27 2019, 6:54pm

“Come, bitter poison, come, unsavory guide!”

Romeo said this in the play Romeo and Juliet. However, this just as easily could have been uttered by Carol Rovane, a professor of philosophy at Columbia University who poisoned herself with cyanide from an elderberry and had to cancel class this week, according to the New York Post.

A tweet from user @dogeatr, which has since been deleted, shows an email that the professor sent to the class. The email says that the professor tried to take a “tincture of elderberry instead of a flu shot” using elderberries she grew from her own backyard.

“It turns out they have cyanide,” the professor wrote.

The professor said that she felt “not quite right” and had to go home. She signed the email, “abject apologies.”

Screenshot of the now-deleted elderberry tweet.
Image: Screenshot of the now-deleted tweet from @dogeatr.

The New York Post reported on Wednesday that the poisoned professor’s name was Carole Rovane. The outlet also reported that Rovane used “bentonite clay, a mineral-based concoction that has long been used as a laxative,” in order to mitigate the effects of poisoning herself with cyanide.

On Tuesday, I spent about 30 minutes sending emails to 26 out of the 61 professors that teach “Introduction To Contemporary Civilization,” asking them to confirm whether they poisoned themselves with cyanide. (I did not email all 61 professors because I did not have more than 30 minutes to dedicate to this intensive investigation.)

A few of them replied, many philosophically:

Columbia email 1.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Screenshot 2 of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.
Image: Screenshot of an email from a Columbia professor.