Da’Love Woods, a senior liberal arts major, knows first hand
what it’s like to live, sleep and eat in a room that had previously
been home to a violent murder scene.
Before transferring to Colorado State University, Woods had
quite an interesting experience in the dorm rooms at the first
university she attended, the University of Portland.
“It is a very small Catholic Institution that was very strict,”
Just a short time before the school’s new freshmen were
scheduled to move into the dorms, the most terrifying and gruesome
crime that had ever taken place on the University of Portland’s
“A girl was found murdered, raped, everything possible. It was
horrible,” Woods said. “When I found out that the crime scene was
my new dorm room I had mixed feelings about the whole thing.”
The person who had committed the ghastly acts was on the run and
the police had no idea where to begin.
According to Woods there were, at most, three people who had
access to the building during the time of the murder including a
priest and a custodian, but the police had no evidence to believe
that either man was the murderer.
“It was scary at first, but by Christmas break we had all
forgotten about it,” Woods said. “We thought of it as a terrible
freak accident that was probably not going to happen again.”
Enough time had passed that the calm security of everyday life
had returned on the University of Portland’s campus.
Woods had no idea that some of her own future actions would lead
to a remembrance of the shocking acts and eventually, harsh
“It was New Year’s Eve and we were just having fun and being
crazy,” Woods said.
Over Christmas break the campus was even more quiet than usual
with only athletes and international students allowed in the dorms.
As a player on the girl’s basketball team, Woods and her teammates
were some of the few who stayed in the dorms over the holiday
“We had a few drinks but no one was completely drunk and we were
getting restless,” Woods said. “I felt like I needed to scream at
the top of my lungs to let out some energy so when we were outside
in front of my dorms I did, but I didn’t know it would lead to
Woods teammates had energy to burn too and before she knew it,
everyone around her was screaming like wild and crazy animals.
“Later that night, the fire alarm went off and the authorities
called everyone in the dorm into a room to count heads to make sure
no one was missing or worse,” Woods said.
As the authorities asked questions in the emergency meeting they
made it clear that there had been screams of terror in the silent
night and they needed to make sure that everyone was alive and
“I don’t know who told on us, but they found out who it was
later that week and ended up kicking me and my teammates out of the
dorms for the rest of the year.”
Woods claimed that she and her friends had never thought about
the violent crime that took place earlier that year when they were
screaming outside the dorms. She feels that they were just acting
on a crazy impulse to have a little more fun on New Year’s Eve.
“The university took it very seriously and acted harshly,” Woods
said. “I had no idea that what we did would change the rest of my
year. At least I didn’t have to stay in that room anymore and got
to live with some friends off-campus.”