Campus Security Criticized for Slow Response to Student’s Fall

NEW YORK – There are conflicting reports regarding security personnel’s response to the accidental fall of a Yeshiva College student during a live radio broadcast.

David Gertler, class of 2007, fell 40 feet on Nov. 15 when a prank he attempted to play went awry. After tying a rope around his waist and fastening the other end to the roof, Getler attempted to rappel down the side of the building, ostensibly trying to surprise students conducting a live radio broadcast. The rope snapped, according to witnesses, and Getler fell three stories. He landed on a stairway in the alley behind the Schottenstein Center, sustaining injuries that later required two surgeries.

A witness claimed that when New York Police Department (NYPD)  officers arrived on scene, the building’s security guard refused to allow them inside until his supervisor arrived to approve their entry. Other witnesses cited a lethargic response on the part of Yeshiva’s security personnel as another factor that kept Gertler from receiving medical attention for about an hour.

Chief of University Security Donald Sommers, however, contradicted that account of the event, saying the security guard opened the doors as soon as police arrived. Furthermore, he said, it was the students and not security who contributed to the confusion by not contacting campus security directly before dialing 911 and, once police arrived, giving officers incorrect information as to where Gertler fell.

Students responded that they dialed 911 because they had little confidence in the readiness of campus security personnel.

The laborious removal process also played a part in delaying the transportation of Getler to a medical facility, which did not occur until 1:50 a.m. When officers found Getler, he was lying on a corrugated sheet of metal on a stairwell, making it difficult for first responders to remove him from the site. Sommers said the sheet of metal probably saved the student’s life.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo