Doomed Fordham student’s parents ‘trying to process’ tragedy
Relatives of the Fordham University student who plunged to her death in a campus clock tower are “crushed” and still “trying to make sense’’ of what happened, a family friend told The Post on Monday.
“Her parents and sister are heartbroken to say the least,” said David Barfield, a college friend of Sydney Monfries’s devastated father.
Monfries, 22, and a group of pals snuck into an off-limits area of the Bronx campus’s Keating Hall tower early Sunday to touch its bell and snap photos, a well-known ritual for graduating seniors.
But the fun time took a tragic turn when the journalism major lost her footing and tumbled 40 feet to her death.
“The world has lost a wonderful person,’’ he said.
A fellow senior said Monday that she’s dreading her upcoming graduation next month — because it’s slated to take place in front of the tower where Monfries died.
“The mood on campus has been very depressing,” said the student, who declined to give her name. “It’s gonna be difficult to graduate in front of this building.
“This is where she died. We’re all gonna be thinking about it.”
A school spokeswoman did not respond to an inquiry about whether the commencement might be moved to a scene free of the grim association.
But the rep said did say that the students who joined Monfries in the tower — which the school has insisted is “always locked” — will not be disciplined.
Fordham University senior to be honored with posthumous degree after falling from clock tower
Fordham University iswho fell to her death from the campus clock tower just weeks before her graduation. Just hours after her death, the office of Fordham University’s president announced that Sydney Monfries would be honored with a posthumous bachelor’s degree.
University President Joseph M. McShane, S.J. informed students, faculty and staff about Monfries’ death in an email Sunday evening. “There are no words sufficient to describe the loss of someone so young and full of promise — and mere weeks from graduation,” McShane wrote in the email. “Fordham will confer a bachelor’s degree upon Sydney posthumously, which we will present to her parents at the appropriate time.”
“I know you join me in keeping Sydney’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. And also know that you are in mine,” McShane wrote.
A mass for Monfries will be held at the University Church Monday at 7 p.m., according to the email. Funeral arrangements will be shared with the Fordham community as soon as the university has them.
Student dies after fall from tower at Fordham University
FORDHAM, Bronx — A Fordham University student died after falling from a bell tower on campus early Sunday.
School President Joseph McShane says 22-year-old Sydney Monfries, a senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill, died due to injuries sustained in the fall inside the Keating Clock tower.
Police say a group of seniors decided to climb the tower around 3 a.m. to get a view of the city skyline.
They say Monfries managed to climb to the top before she fell through a hole in one of the stairway landings and subsequently dropped 30 to 40 feet inside the tower.
When emergency responders arrived at the scene, they found her lying on the ground inside the tower with trauma to her head and body.
She was transported to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she later died.
University officials are investigating how the group of students gained access to the tower, which is normally locked.
While some students said getting inside the tower is a “must do,” many said they have never heard of being allowed inside.
“Being in that building, there’s no sort of methodology or way to have access to that, in my personal opinion,” student Sean Johnson said. “Don’t really know how they got up there.”
Another student, Emma Azizo, said she thinks it’s scary and dangerous.
“I really feel bad for the person,” she said. “I don’t think they went up there with the intention thinking it was possible to fall.”
The university said Monfries, who was set to graduate next month, will receive a posthumous bachelor’s degree.
Her father Wayne, mother Susan and sister Caitlyn would have attended the graduation, along with long-time family friend David Barfield.
“Susan told me when she came to school she didn’t have just one group, she had three or four groups,” said Barfield. “She loved them and they loved her just as much.”
Monfries was with a group of friends when she fell to her death Sunday morning.
“I was just with Susan and she said, ‘I’ve lost my best friend’. They are heartbroken,” said Barfield. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to witness.”
Monfries was an intern at InStyle Magazine, and planned to stay in New York City and work.
Wayne said his daughter was a kind soul with a magnetic personality who adored her little sister, and the feeling was mutual.
“She was Daddy’s little girl and one of the things that Wayne celebrated every year was the father daughter dance,” said Barfield.
David said he will always remember how Sydney and Caitlyn rallied around his then 3-year-old daughter when she learned how to swim.
“They gave her a hug and big high-five and she absolutely loved it,” said Barfield. “It gave her so much encouragement and pride. It was wonderful.”
Fordham Student, Sydney Monfries, Dies After Fall From Campus Bell Tower
Ms. Monfries, a 22-year-old senior, died Sunday evening, hours after falling from a tower known to attract thrill-seeking students at the university’s Bronx campus.
It was forbidden. But the group of friends sneaked into Fordham University’s most recognizable building in the dead of night anyway early Sunday.
They clambered up the steep staircase of the granite bell tower that overlooks Fordham’s Rose Hill campus to take in the view of the Bronx under moonlight, sending a Snapchat video from the top.
Then something went horribly wrong.
One of the students, a 22-year-old senior, fell through an opening in a landing, the police said, and plummeted down the inside of the clock and bell tower just a month before her graduation.
The woman, Sydney Monfries, was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she died Sunday evening, according to the university. The police had found her unconscious inside the tower at about 3 a.m., with trauma to her head and body. The circumstances and the height of the fall were not clear.
BREAKING: Fordham university student Sydney Monfries, 22, dies after fall from school’s iconic clock tower, university president says.
Officials are investigating how the student gained access to the tower, which is normally locked. – WNBC
The university sent multiple emails to students on Sunday, updating them on Ms. Monfries’s fall from the tower in Keating Hall at the heart of campus and on her condition.
“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 university, said in an email to students.
The tower is off limits, but that has not stopped curious students eager to get a glimpse of the view.
“It’s like a senior thing to go on the most popular building on campus,” said Priscilla Morales, a psychology student at the university. “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 for students and faculty members to gather and pray for Ms. Monfries, who was from Portland, Ore., and had been studying journalism. The school said it would posthumously award Ms. Monfries a bachelor’s degree.
“I know you join me in keeping Sydney, and her family and loved ones, in your thoughts and prayers,” Father McShane said in an earlier email. “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 top of the tower on Snapchat with the caption “Bell tower” early Sunday, according to video shared with The New York Times.
In the video, there is muffled but excited chatter as a few students stumble through the dark tower using their phones as flashlights. Other students can be seen holding up their phones to record the Bronx skyline and the university’s illuminated sports field from the tower’s perch.
Keating Hall is open during regular hours, but locked at night, and access to the clock tower is restricted around the clock, according to a university spokeswoman. It is unclear how the students got in.
The 83-year-old classroom and administrative building is one of Fordham’s most recognizable buildings, known for its Gothic-style facade, the hourly chimes of its bells and the steps where commencement is held every year.
Many students said climbing the building’s tower was a storied rite of passage that some undertake before graduating.
“There’s the three things you have to do at Fordham,” said Lili Huang, a 21-year-old senior studying communications.
“You have to ride the ram,” she said of a statue of the university’s mascot, which students climb on to take pictures. “You have to go into the tunnels underground and you have to go into the bell tower.”
Others said climbing the bell tower is not a tradition, but rather a daring idea that surfaces every once in awhile, passed on through word of mouth by 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.