University Student Falls 40 Feet to Her Death From Iconic Campus Tower, Parents Devastated

By Paula Liu

The university senior who accidentally plummeted down from the campus bell tower passed away from her injuries.

Relatives of the Fordham University student, Sydney Monfries, were still trying to make sense of what happened, according to multiple reports. A friend of the family told New York Post that they were absolutely devastated by Monfries’s death.

“Her parents and sister are heartbroken to say the least,” Monfries’s father’s college friend, David Barfield said.

According to the New York Post, the 22-year-old university senior and a few friends went into the Keating Hall tower—an off-limits area on the university’s Bronx campus. CNN reported that it had become a rite of passage for graduating seniors to climb the tower and take pictures.

According to CNN, university officials were investigating how the students got access to the tower, considering it was usually locked. The university claimed the tower is always locked, and only authorized staff can access the tower.

However, one of the seniors told the New York Post that the doors weren’t always locked, and “they’re unlocked at night when they’re cleaning. They are always doing some kind of cleaning or renovation.”

The news outlet reported that Monfries fell 40 feet when she tripped on some debris inside the tower, and then landed on her head, leaving her in critical condition. Monfries was rushed to the St. Barnabas Hospital, where she passed away.

According to the university, no disciplinary actions would be taken against the students who were with Monfries on April 14.

The news outlet also reported that Monfries was weeks from her graduation, and what happened was a tragedy for both the school as well as the parents.

Barfield told New York Post that Monfries was a beautiful soul and said, “The world has lost a wonderful person.”

“There are no words sufficient to describe the loss of someone so young and full of promise,” Joseph M, McShane, S.J., the university’s president said in a statement. “Fordham will confer a bachelor’s degree upon Sydney posthumously, which we will present to her parents at the appropriate time.”

According to the Fordham News, Monfries was majoring in journalism, with a focus on the digital technological aspect of the media world. She was interning at InStyle Magazine as a photographer.

Monfries’s father, Wayne Monfries, said his daughter loved her time in the university and couldn’t wait to begin her life after graduation in the big city. He also said that her daughter was a kind person who cared about everyone.

“She was giving and kind-hearted,” he said. “We’ve lost our daughter, but the world has lost a very special person.”

Monfries’s classmates also echoed her father’s praise, and according to the university article, said there was a lot of potential in her. On April 15, a few of the classmates came up with a statement together that reflected what the thought of Monfries—she loved being around people, more than anything else.

“She was the centerpiece of her class, and her energy brought together people who may have never met,” they said. “It was difficult to talk to her at parties, because everyone else was trying to get her attention, and her eagerness to appreciate and cherish everything that we did was what made so many of our college memories special.”

According to the New York Post, the university’s graduation ceremony takes place at the Keating Hall tower, but many students said they weren’t entirely looking forward to their graduation, considering that’s where Monfries died.

“The mood on campus has been very depressing,” one anonymous student told the media outlet. “This is where she died. We’re all going to be thinking about it.”

A mass was held at the Fordham University Church for the late Monfries on the evening of April 14.

“Our hearts go out to Syndey’s parents, and her family and friends,” said McShane. “Theirs is an unimaginable loss, and we share their grief.”