Sydney Monfries, 22, was studying journalism at Fordham University and was expected to get her Bachelor's Degree in May
A Fordham University senior died on Sunday, school officials said, after accidentally falling from the campus’ landmark bell tower where she was said to have been trying to snap photos of the New York City skyline under the moonlight.
Sydney Paige Monfries, 22, was participating in an early morning climb to the top of the Keating Clock tower on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx when she reportedly fell nearly 40 feet through an opening in the 83-year-old Gothic structure’s first landing, The New York Post reported.
Though the trek to the top of the locked tower is forbidden, it’s become a rite of passage for outgoing students who sneak into the off-limits property at night, according to the school’s newspaper, The Fordham Ram.
“The thrill of danger is definitely a huge allure to going up,” one student told the outlet of the building, which the paper says is usually locked. “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.”
Monfries reportedly made it up to the top of the tower, The New York Times viewing video she posted from her Snapchat account with the caption “Bell tower.” Other clips on her Snapchat reportedly showed Monfries’ friends stumbling through the darkness using their phones as flashlights to see before sitting on the tower’s perch.
Emergency responders found Monfries unconscious inside the tower at about 3:17 a.m. local time with a low pulse and trauma to her head, The Post reported. She was transported to St. Barnabas Hospital where she died later that day, CBS News reported.
Administrators from the university confirmed Monfries’ death in a post on social media, directing students to grief counseling resources. A private mass was held on campus Sunday evening for friends and faculty, CBS News reported.
A Portland, Oregon, native, Monfries was studying journalism at Fordham and was expected to graduate in May. Fordham officials have said the school will honor her with her Bachelor’s Degree posthumously.
“Our hearts go out to Sydney’s parents, and her family and friends — theirs is an unimaginable loss, and we share their grief,” Rev. Joseph M. McShane wrote on Sunday in an email to students obtained by Fox News.
“There are no words sufficient to describe the loss of someone so young and full of promise — and mere weeks from graduation,” McShane continued. “Fordham will confer a bachelor’s degree upon Sydney posthumously, which we will present to her parents at the appropriate time.”