top of page

Student drinks from water fountain with red filter, dies

DURHAM, NC – We are heartbroken to report the passing of Duke Student Gilbert Lozaklo (Trinity ‘24). We commemorate Gilbert as a driven student, pursuing a major in Public Policy and a minor in Environmental Science. President of the Environmental Futures club, Lozaklo strove towards the goal of a cleaner future. Unfortunately, perhaps due to a lack of attention in his environment classes, Gilbert failed to recognize the importance of water safety.

At roughly 10:44 PM on October 2nd, 2023, Lozaklo knowingly drank from a water fountain with a red filter. It took roughly three sips (measured through autopsy reports) for the lethal beverage to toxify his internal organs when he was pronounced dead at 11:57 PM. When asked about the state of their water availability, several floormates of Lozaklo claimed that they have to walk down three flights of stairs to get to a green filter water fountain. Sarah Joslin (Trinity ‘25) said, “The fountain on our floor has not worked as long as I’ve lived here. It’s truly a tragedy that he was too tired for the walk.” Another classmate, Jordan Lever (Pratt ‘25) chimed in: “I mean yeah it was a red filter, but was it really that deep? I drink from that fountain all the time and it doesn’t make sense that it would kill someone.”

Protests have broken out in response to the tragedy, with some groups demanding for the filters to be checked daily. Others urge for the banning of plastic bottles such as Smartwater on campus, claiming that exposure to such filtered drinks has hampered students’ tolerance to the water fountains. The incident has raised questions about the integrity of Duke’s infrastructure, as well as student awareness about campus safety

Alongside the water, trace amounts of cocaine were found in Lozaklo’s blood but were ruled out as cause of death.



bottom of page