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Accident at Union raises safety concerns

Diego Burciaga
Monday evening a student fell from the third floor ledge at Union Building East to the middle second floor staircase after losing his balance. Still conscious after the fall, he was transported to Las Palmas Medical Center.

Monday evening, a student and pledge for the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity fell from the third floor balcony at Union Building East to the middle second floor staircase.

The accident occurred approximately at 8 p.m. during the Greek life meetings.

According to John Serna, senior mechanical engineering major and president of AKL, the student was sitting on the ledge and lost his balance.

“He just leaned back a little too far, but there was no rough play,” Serna said. “I think this is quite the safety hazard. I mean if you look at it (the ledge), it’s what, two to three feet?”

Serna has seen students sitting on the ledges around the Union and is surprised that something like this has not happened before.

He believes that fixing the ledge to avoid future accidents is something the Union needs to consider.

Witnesses said the student was still conscious after the fall.

Paramedics and the university police responded and the student was taken to Las Palmas Medical Center.

The victim’s name was withheld.

Check for story updates.

Lorain Watters and Kristopher Rivera may be reached at [email protected].

View Comments (5)
About the Contributors
Lorain Watters, Editor-in-chief Editor
Lorain Watters is a senior psychology and multimedia journalism major. She is currently the managing editor at The Prospector, previously holding the position of entertainment editor. Along with the newspaper and classes, Lorain is also a part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars honors organization on campus. In her spare time, she enjoys reading at coffeeshops, discovering new music and driving. Lorain strives to work for the New York Times or the Huffington Post in the future.
Kristopher Rivera, Copy Editor
At the beginning of Kristopher Rivera’s sophomore year, he was sitting in a psychology course, pondering his future in regards to a career. He questioned if he really wanted to pursue a career in psychology, which was his major at the time. Feeling uncertain, he began to think of how one decision at that moment would shift everything about his future. He seemed to do well when it came to writing, and he enjoyed reading about bands in magazines such as Alternative Press, Rolling Stone and SPIN. So then he did some research and found that journalism was the way to go. Now, Rivera, senior multimedia journalism major, is scheduled to graduate this fall. It’s also marks his third year with the Prospector. He’s covered stories in sports, entertainment and news. In between some time at the Prospector, Rivera landed two internships. He spent his fall 2012 semester in Washington D.C. as an intern reporter for the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire. Many UTEP students like him have had the privilege to go experience living at the nation’s capital. He covered stories in the area, and saw political figures such as President Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Rivera also had a nice opportunity to see the Who at the National Press Club, where they talked about their organization to help children with cancer. This summer Rivera was in Sacramento, Calif. working as an intern reporter for the Sacramento Bee newspaper. He had the opportunity to cover all kinds of stories such as a homicide, community events, major league baseball games—specifically the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants, and he had some opportunities to work on some music features. He interviewed Ellie Goulding, Cedric Bixler-Zavala (the Mars Volta/At the Drive-In), Randy Ebright of Molotov and a few other artists. Rivera said he’s been blessed to have these opportunities, and it all started at the Prospector. Rivera is also a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
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Comments (5)

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  • S

    SamanthaOct 19, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Some people wouldn’t think anythign of sitting there. If its open, nothing is preventing anyone else from sitting. Those ledges aren’t safe at all! Sitting on them or not, accidents can still happen. What if someone is just standing nearby and gets bumped into or happens to trip? They could jsut as easily go off and not have been doing anything wrong. Something needs to be done to make the Union’s 2nd and 3rd floors safer to be on. We attend a highly geared towards engineers university. I’m sure they can come up with something to amend this issue.

  • B

    Bon IceOct 15, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    So we are to blame the university because he could not keep his balance while seating on the ledge… maybe now they want a safety net. They should just put a sign “This is not a seat / chair; Sit at your own risk”

    • K

      KrystalOct 16, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      There is a sign tha says do not sit on the ledge

  • J

    Joe FernandezOct 15, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    ” Serna has seen students sitting on the ledges around the Union and is surprised that something like this has not happened before. He believes that fixing the ledge to avoid future accidents is something the Union needs to consider.”

    How about some good old fashioned common sense and good judgement. Rowenta puts a warning on their steam irons. “Do not iron clothes while wearing”. Why is such a thing needed? Because at some point, someone got burned trying to iron clothes while wearing them !

    This country has totally gone to crap, and this dumbass kid is no exception to what is wrong! Glad he is ok though!

    • L

      Luis HernandezOct 22, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      So I’m some dumbass kid for falling and almost dying. The doctors said a fall like that could easily kill anyone. Yes it was my fault. But dont be an insensitive ass and calling me a dumbass for falling. I want to see you make the same fall and survive. You dont know the pain I went through. And I never once said “fix these ledges so it doesnt happen again” its expensive and the school isnt at fault. But where I fell from there was no sign that said “do not sit” a simple sign would be enough for me. But its in the past. And yes I survived with minimal damage and only 9 staples on my head.

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Accident at Union raises safety concerns