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Student Dies After Fall From Fordham University Clock Tower

April 14, 2019 - 8:10 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A Fordham University student died after plummeting off the school’s clock tower early Sunday morning, police say.

The senior, identified as 22-year-old Sydney Monfries, was among a group of students who were climbing the gothic tower at Keating Hall around 3 a.m., according to police.

Police say Monfries lost her footing and fell 30 to 40 feet, landing with a crushing blow to the ground.

She was taken to an area hospital in critical condition with injuries to her head. She died later on Sunday. 

A private Mass was held at the university Sunday night to pray for Monfries' family.

"I think experiencing that just a few weeks before graduation for her friends and family is just the worst thing that could possibly happen," a student named Neil told CBS 2.

In a statement, the university called Monfries' death an "unimaginable loss." 

"There are no words sufficient to describe the loss of someone so young and full of promise—and mere weeks from graduation. Fordham will confer a bachelor’s degree upon Sydney posthumously, which we will present to her parents at the appropriate time," part of the statement read. 

The university is investigating how Monfries and her friends were able to access the clock tower because it is normally locked.

An article from The Fordham Ram, the school’s newspaper, describes the allure of climbing the forbidden clock tower.

One student who made the climb says the way up is on a slippery spiral staircase that’s pitch-black inside.

Jordy, a senior at Fordham, told WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz that students climb the tower even though it's not allowed.

"You can get there. It's kind of like a tradition to like climb up to the clock the tower before you graduate,” she said.