A 53-year-old French academic was discovered dead in a midtown hotel room yesterday, naked in bed, with his cellphone lying on a landing four floors beneath his seventh-floor room. Because of the phone, police are treating the death of Richard Descoings, the director of France’s Sciences-Po institute (a school attended by France's last three presidents), as suspicious.

Descoings, who was in town for a conference at Columbia, was discovered by hotel staff at the Michelangelo Hotel on West 51st Street after he'd failed yesterday to show up at the school. Though initially there was some confusion regarding the messy state the police found his room in, the NYPD now says that nothing appears to have been missing and police spokesman Paul Browne clarifies that the room was upset by EMS workers trying to revive the scholar.

"There is no criminality at this time and no obvious signs of trauma. We are awaiting the medical examiner's determination for the cause of death," Browne said. Still, other police sources have said that "We are looking at the possibility of another person having been in room with him at some point." Descoings, who is married, reportedly had empty booze bottles and antidepressants in his room.

The news of Descoings death quickly brings to mind other recent high-profile hotel incidents (DSK, the castrating male model) and has led to officials rushing to mourn the influential Frenchman, credited with boosting the influence of Sciences-Po. For example: Descoings was "a great public servant who dedicated his entire life to the cause he’d chosen: education," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement. "He was a pioneer in opening up internationally and in seeking new financing, a tireless and passionate worker."