By: Eli Azizollahoff  | 

Second Student Caught in Elevator Scare on Beren Campus

A Stern College for Women senior was taking the elevator in Stanton Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 12, when it malfunctioned, falling three floors and stopping abruptly. The student, who wished to remain anonymous, was on her way to the cafeteria for dinner from the 11th floor when the elevator abruptly stopped on the 10th floor. She then felt the elevator drop to the seventh floor in what the student described as a “lurch.” The student pressed the call communication button in the elevator, but there was no answer. 

According to the student, the elevator stopped falling once it reached the seventh floor because another student had pressed the call button. The student jumped off the elevator as the doors closed behind her and warned the other student of the situation. From there, she walked down the stairs and informed security of what had transpired. The security guard told her that they would shut down the elevator immediately.

Randy Apfelbaum, Chief Facilities and Administrative Officer at YU, commented, “When [our maintenance contractor] inspected the elevator after the incident, they found the mechanisms were all in working order … The elevator didn’t fall — elevators, including the Brookdale cars, have multiple redundant safety systems, all required by building code, to ensure passenger safety.”

Although she is physically fine, the experience was traumatic for the SCW senior. “I was scared, and the second I got out on the seventh floor, I started crying,” she said.

For months there have been complaints regarding the elevators that service the buildings of Beren Campus. These grievances range from the inability of students to get to class when the elevators are out of service, to difficulties that out of service elevators present students and faculty members with disabilities, to previous stories of elevators on campus malfunctioning with students inside. Last spring, The Observer reported that Shifra Lindenberg (SSB ‘21) suffered a minor concussion after experiencing what she described as an “elevator free fall” in the Brookdale Residence Hall. In response to this incident, Apfelbaum contended that YU elevators have a number of safety redundancies to prevent them from ever entering a “free fall.”

Regarding the most recent elevator malfunction, Apfelbaum stated, It seems that the safety circuit on the elevator may have shut down the elevator momentarily — its computer probably reset itself. When that happens, the elevator stops and then resets itself. The stopping action can feel like a fall but is a part of the many safety features on the elevator. Essentially, the elevator worked as designed and stopped.”

“Regardless of if this is an elevator malfunction or not, this still shouldn’t have happened,” said Lindenberg about this second elevator ordeal. “Malfunction or not, the message YU is sending to its students is that they don’t care enough about our safety nor do they care about the trauma that these incidents bring upon its students.”

YU did not address the issue of the emergency communications system failure. In March of last year, the university was issued a summons by FDNY fire inspectors for failing to comply with a previously-issued order that they must maintain two-way communication capabilities between elevators in the Schottenstein Residence Hall and the command station. Since the summons, the university has settled the violation in New York County Criminal Court, according to state court records.

“[YU] does great things, but it’s all overshadowed by their incompetence,” the SCW student stated. She noted the irony of leaving a university-sponsored Physical Therapy session and then immediately experiencing this ordeal in the elevator.

“It disgusts me that the elevators are still putting students in danger,” added Lindenberg. “I don't think the university is doing anything to show that they care about our safety.”

Photo Caption: An elevator at Stern College’s Stanton Hall
Photo Credit: The Commentator