The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 67.0°F | A Few Clouds

Student Hospitalized After 3-Story Fall

By Jeremy Hylton
Editor in Chief

A student descending from the roof of Baker House on a rope was injured late Tuesday night when he lost his grip and fell three stories.

According Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin, Michael J. Duff '95 had attached a 75-foot rope to a vent on the roof and apparently tried to scale the side of the building facing Memorial Drive.

"He was repelling off of our roof. He wasn't doing it with repelling gear, but with two normal, hardware-store ropes," said Nicole Fang '95, a Baker deskworker and friend of Duff.

A Baker resident heard Duff fall and called the campus police at 11:22 p.m. Two officers responded within a minute and paramedics took Duff to the hospital. Duff was conscious after the fall but could not feel his legs, Fang said.

Duff was taken to Beth Israel Hospital, where he entered surgery at 3:30 a.m. Duff shattered his third lumbar vertebra (in his neck) and was in surgery for 14-and-a-half hours, according to Robert M. Randolph, associate dean for student assistance services.

Duff's recovery will be long, Randolph said. "There's a possibility he will not recover full movement," he said.

Because of the spectacle created by the fall, rumors that Duff tried to commit suicide were started, Fang said. "Suddenly there were a lot of ambulances and sirens outside of Baker House and the police didn't say anything right away, so everyone thought someone had jumped," she said.

The rumors are completely false, according to Randolph.

Duff's family has asked that students and friends not visit him until he has had more time to recover from surgery, Randolph said.