According to New York local news outlet The River Reporter, the woman -- identified as Jessica Fingers, of Monticello, N.Y. -- may have died from a drug overdose. She was reportedly found face up and unresponsive on the floor of a room in the university's East Campus dormitory, in Manhattan, Sunday morning.
Fingers had been on a leave of absence from the university since last year.
"It is with deep sadness and regret that I write to inform you of the untimely loss of one of our students who has been on leave from Columbia but visiting campus at the time of her passing," said Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger in an email to the student body. The statement was posted on the university's student news site Bwog.
According to student newspaper the Columbia Spectator, Fingers had been a runner on the university's cross-country team before she took her leave of absence. The decorated student athlete had also reportedly attended Columbia on a full scholarship.
The New York Daily News reports that Fingers had taken a year of absence to "deal with blood clots."
Sources told the New York Post that police do not suspect foul play in Fingers' death, but it is believed that the young woman and her boyfriend "had been doing drugs." Still, as the Spectator points out, the city medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of Fingers' death.
In an interview with the Daily News, Fingers' mother, Athena, said her daughter had been visiting New York frequently to visit her boyfriend.
“I never liked him,” Athena Fingers said of her daughter's romantic interest. “He influenced the decisions she made in the last few months. He wasn’t good for her.”
“She said she was in love,” the young woman's mother continued. “That’s why she wanted to go into the city all of the time, to visit him.”