FSU Law students reflect after man jumps off balcony

By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 19, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Students returned to their studies Wednesday after a hectic afternoon Tuesday, when a person unassociated with Florida State University jumped off the third story balcony of the College of Law building. Many students sitting outside the building shared their concerns about safety and what will be done moving forward.

Investigations and questioning continued Wednesday. FSU Police told WCTV they have not been able to identify the person or question them, since they were undergoing multiple surgeries and still recovering.

The balcony which the man jumped from is now locked, as well as the one on the second story. But on a normal day, FSU student Grace Findley says the doors are open to the public.

"It is just a free for all. I mean, if you have a backpack and you look normal, I guess they do not second guess it," Findley said.

Students say while other libraries on campus require card access, the one at the College of Law does not, only requiring a student ID after 5 p.m.

An FSU Spokesperson sent the following statement to WCTV:

"According to the College of Law’s website, the Research Center serves as the law library for Florida State University and is open seven days a week. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The balcony doors will now be locked with access restricted to authorized personnel only. University and college administrators are conducting a safety assessment of all the college’s facilities."

Second year law student Lily McLauchlin says this library stands out.

"I have been to all of the libraries on campus and they all have turnstiles, and I thought it was interesting that a law school that is more private and more prestigious didn't have turnstiles," McLauchlin says.

However, students like Alex Bronfeld, who is in his first year at the law school, does not think additional safety measures are warranted.

Bronfeld says he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Florida, and a similar instance occurred during his time there, when a student jumped out of the math building.

"I think these things happen, I don't think that there is really a security issue or anything because people come in and they have to talk to their professors, or they have to do research for their own cases and it is important that the public has that access," he says.

Alex did say this it is still scary.

"To have it happen somewhere where you are going everyday is definitely in general just very upsetting," he says.

For McLauchlin, it is less about safety measures and more about what can be done from here.

"A lot of us kind of try to joke about mental health and try to lighten the mood, but the truth is all of us are dealing with stress, depression and anxiety," she says.

While it is not known if this individual suffered from distress, McLauchlin says her peers at the College of Law as a whole have been checking on one another during this time, to make sure that everyone is doing okay.

Various ideas students suggested Wednesday include presenting student ID's before entering the library and locking classrooms upon entering and exiting.

While opinions may differ on what needs to be done, students say that this serves as a lesson to be vigilant.

"Just being a citizen, it is important to recognize instances like that and act, rather than lock the doors to the public," Bronfeld says.

McLauchlin also says most importantly, it is imperative to take care of each other.

"The silver lining that came out of this was that we all checked in with each other, because it could have been any of us," she says.

FSU PD told WCTV they spent Wednesday morning assessing the building to come up with ideas on how to make sure all of its areas are as safe as possible.

FSU PD says one of the options is looking into automatic locks and unlocks for classrooms. However, they want to look at the whole building and see what is best. They will be observing how people come in and out and their movement throughout the building.

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