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It was forbidden. But the group of pals sneaked into Fordham University’s most recognizable constructing at the hours of darkness anyway early Sunday.
They clambered up the steep staircase of the granite bell tower that overlooks Fordham’s Rose Hill campus to absorb the view of the Bronx below moonlight, sending a Snapchat video from the highest.
Then one thing went horribly unsuitable.
One of the scholars, a 22-year-old senior, fell by way of a gap in a touchdown, the police stated, and plummeted down the within of the clock and bell tower only a month earlier than her commencement.
The lady, Sydney Monfries, was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, the place she died Sunday night, in response to the college. The police had discovered her unconscious contained in the tower at about three a.m., with trauma to her head and physique. The circumstances and the peak of the autumn weren’t clear.
The college despatched a number of emails to college students on Sunday, updating them on Ms. Monfries’s fall from the tower in Keating Hall on the coronary heart of campus and on her situation.
“There are no words sufficient to describe the loss of someone so young and full of promise — and mere weeks from graduation,” the Rev. Joseph M. McShane, the president of the Jesuit college, stated in an electronic mail to college students.
The tower is off limits, however that has not stopped curious college students desirous to get a glimpse of the view.
“It’s like a senior thing to go on the most popular building on campus,” stated Priscilla Morales, a psychology pupil on the college. “Recently people heard the door was open or found a passageway. They usually go late at night at around 1 or 2 a.m. to drink and see the view.”
Fordham held a Mass on Sunday night time for college kids and school members to collect and pray for Ms. Monfries, who was from Portland, Ore., and had been learning journalism. The faculty stated it might posthumously award Ms. Monfries a bachelor’s diploma.
“I know you join me in keeping Sydney, and her family and loved ones, in your thoughts and prayers,” Father McShane stated in an earlier electronic mail. “I also urge you to be kind to one another, and to yourselves, in the days that follow.”
Ms. Monfries had posted a video from the highest of the tower on Snapchat with the caption “Bell tower” early Sunday, in response to video shared with The New York Times.
In the video, there’s muffled however excited chatter as a couple of college students stumble by way of the darkish tower utilizing their telephones as flashlights. Other college students may be seen holding up their telephones to report the Bronx skyline and the college’s illuminated sports activities area from the tower’s perch.
Keating Hall is open throughout common hours, however locked at night time, and entry to the clock tower is restricted across the clock, in response to a college spokeswoman. It is unclear how the scholars acquired in.
The 83-year-old classroom and administrative constructing is certainly one of Fordham’s most recognizable buildings, recognized for its Gothic-style facade, the hourly chimes of its bells and the steps the place graduation is held yearly.
Many college students stated climbing the constructing’s tower was a storied ceremony of passage that some undertake earlier than graduating.
“There’s the three things you have to do at Fordham,” stated Lili Huang, a 21-year-old senior learning communications.
“You have to ride the ram,” she stated of a statue of the college’s mascot, which college students climb on to take photos. “You have to go into the tunnels underground and you have to go into the bell tower.”
Others stated climbing the bell tower is just not a practice, however fairly a daring concept that surfaces each as soon as in awhile, handed on by way of phrase of mouth by college students and alumni.
A 2013 article in the university’s student newspaper titled “Truths of a Forbidden Tower Revealed” detailed the ghost stories surrounding the tower and quoted students who claimed to have made the pitch-black climb up a spiral staircase through an interior door that is usually locked.
“The thrill of danger is definitely a huge allure to going up,” one student told the newspaper, The Fordham Ram. “I would say the other two reasons for going up are the amazing view of the entire campus from up there and the ability to brag about doing it.”
On Sunday, the university’s campus was busier than usual, packed with prospective students visiting the university for tours. Many were unaware of the incident until university officials held a moment of silence before a welcome address.
“They said, ‘Welcome, everyone, we’re going to have a silent prayer for the unfortunate incident that happened this morning,’” said James Groenier, 18, of St. Louis, who is interested in Fordham’s business school. “It lasted about 15 seconds and then they went on to their regular presentation.”
As he spoke, a group of students passed by the back door to the building that holds the tower. A young man and his father walked up and tugged on the locked door.
Derek Norman contributed reporting.