Sydney Monfries, 22, Dies Falling Off Fordham University Tower Weeks Before Graduation

Fordham Senior Sydney Monfries, 22, died on April 14, 2019, after falling through a hole in the stairs of an off-limits bell tower on Fordham University’s campus. The bell tower has recently become a place for graduating seniors to sneak into as a rite of passage. After treating themselves to a barbecue dinner off-campus, Monfries and friends decided to sneak into the tower to drink and garner pictures for their respective social media accounts. A waiter at the restaurant contacted by The New York Post stated that he was unsure whether or not the friends had included drinks with dinner. The waiter also confided that his roommate was among the friends that accompanied Monfries into the bell tower.

The Fall

Posting a video to Snapchat captioned “Bell Tower,” Monfries was apparently determined to get a good photograph of the city skyline to post on Instagram. Before this could happen, however, it is presumed that Monfries stepped into a hole in the narrow staircase leading up to the bell tower, resulting in a fall that ultimately led to her death. Unconscious when the paramedics arrived, time was lost as they struggled to get Monfries out of the narrow tower staircase while on a stretcher. The waiter informed news sources that his roommate had reportedly rushed to Monfries’s side immediately following the fall and that she was unable to breathe and had hit her head. By the time paramedics airlifted Monfries out of a window and onto the ground to be transported to the hospital, it was too late.

Dead On Arrival

Monfries was pronounced dead on arrival to the great sadness of all of those who knew her. A bright student according to Fordham University staff, Monfries studied journalism and was an intern at InStyle Magazine with a promising future. Friends of Monfries turned to social media with words that both lamented the loss of Monfries and celebrated the person she was. Fordham University has responded to the tragedy by providing counseling to all students who seek it. Given that the tower is off-limits to students and consequently locked at night, school officials are investigating how Monfries and others have gained access, hopefully eliminating any future forays into the tower by other students who may seek to ascend in search of social media content.

The Dangers of Social Media

Fordham students who were not involved in the incident that took place on April 14th corroborated the sentiment that the climb up the bell tower is a rite of passage for seniors, albeit a dangerous one. Student Priscilla Morales filled in The New York Times, confessing that Fordham students recently started climbing the bell tower after hearing that a door was open or that there was a found passageway. Morales admitted that it was common behavior for students to go “late at night at around one or two A.M. to drink and see the view.” The decision by Monfries and friends to fulfill this rite is what ultimately led to Monfries’s tragic death only weeks before her anticipated graduation in May 2019, making the ascent up the bell tower a rite of passage only for those who are lucky enough to survive. This incident takes place during a time when adolescents and young adults are increasingly consumed by the search for and attainment of like-worthy social media content, many searches for which have concluded in the deaths of those who seek internet validation.

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