Report: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev failed American politics at UMass Dartmouth

A transcript shows he also failed chemistry and five other classes. But classmates did see him at a party Wednesday

Published April 20, 2013 9:54PM (EDT)

Dzhokar Tsarnaev                                  (FBI)
Dzhokar Tsarnaev (FBI)

Wednesday was just another routine day in the life of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- a workout on campus, a party with friends and then a night in his dorm.

That might explain why so many people who knew Tsarnaev -- the younger of the two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombing -- are struggling so mightily to reconcile the friendly and relaxed college sophomore they knew with the subject of a manhunt and shootout which shut down large parts of the Boston area on Friday.

Here are some of the details shared by college friends in stories in the Boston Globe and New York Times:

* He was at a party Wednesday with intramural soccer pals, said one student who did not give her name to the Globe. "He was just relaxed," she told the paper.

* Pamala Rolon, a resident assistant in Tsarnaev's dorm, found him unremarkable.  “He studied. He hung out with me and my friends,” she said. “I’m in shock.”

* When Rolon saw the pictures of the Boston Marathon suspects on Thursday afternoon, she thought one of the suspects might resemble him -- but the idea that it would be him seemed so ridiculous that she and friends just laughed.

“We made a joke like — that could be Dzhokhar,” she told the paper. “But then we thought it just couldn’t be him. Dzhokhar? Never.”

* But Emily DeInnocentis, did think he was strange. At her house one time, he " spread messy string cheese all over her couch" and "picked up her cat and (carried) it upstairs for no reason." “We just didn’t invite him over after that. How many people just pick up your cat and go upstairs?” she told the Globe.

* The New York Times, meanwhile, found some of Tsarnaev's grades. The paper obtained a transcript which showed seven Fs over two semesters this year and last year. One of the Fs came in an introduction to American politics, and another in principles of modern chemistry.

* He did, however, earn a B in critical writing.


By David Daley

David Daley, former editor-in-chief of Salon, is the author of the national bestseller “Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count” and “Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy.”

MORE FROM David Daley

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev University Of Massachusetts Dartmouth