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OSU's Lantern investigates serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's time at the university after new Netflix series

Ohio State

The Ohio State University student newspaper, The Lantern, recentlyinvestigated the life of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer while he was a student at OSU in the fall of 1978. The story came about after the release of the Netflix series “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.”

Lantern Editor, Jessica Langer says Dahmer did not attend classes very often and spent most of his time inside of campus area bars.

“He had a really, big alcoholism problem,” says Langer. “He drank through all of his obsessions. It is a little unnerving to know that a serial killer had walked the same street, you know, went to the same restaurants and bars that you may come across on High Street. And while it was 50 years ago, it's interesting to know that this is part of Ohio State's history, and he was here.”

Langer says Dahmer failed in his first quarter at OSU with a 0.45 GPA. His classes included Introduction to Anthropology, Greco-Roman History, and Riflery.

“He would wake up in the morning, not go to class,” says Langer. “He would instead go down to the dining hall. At the time, he would eat by himself, then walk to south campus at the bars down there, and he would drink all of his money away, the weekly allowance his father gave him. And then when that started running out, he went to a plasma center to donate.”

Langer says Dahmer lived in Morrill Tower in room 541. Students currently live there.

“Students in Morrill Tower told my editors that they were a little unnerved by knowing that Jeffrey Dahmer was there. Since the popularity of the show, people have been coming to Morrill Tower just to see [...] what exactly was this like, Jeffrey Dahmer was here.”

Dahmer moved to Milwaukee after his short OSU academic experience.

The Akron, Ohio native confessed in 1991 to killing and dismembering 17 people in Ohio and Wisconsin. Police recovered body parts of some of his victims inside Dahmer’s Milwaukee apartment.

Dahmer’s first murder occurred before he came to OSU. He had picked up 19-year-old hitchhiker Stephen Hicks and drove him back to his childhood home.

“I think the movie is really interesting and gives insight into how Jeffrey Dahmer became who he was and kind of what brought this about. And I think it really also was a little grueling kind of showing you the murders themselves and kind of the process they went through. So, it brings you through a lot of different mindsets and emotions seeing what he was like, what his childhood was like, what his parents were like and then seeing what that led to and the mean acts and violence he was doing on other people.”

Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate on November 28, 1994, at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.