I looked into the matter and found that, indeed, a 20-year-old man named Shane Meyer had fallen from the third-floor window of the Delta Tau Delta house just 12 days before Andaverde’s fall from SAE; not surprisingly, the police reported that “alcohol may have been a factor
The local inclinations to see a badly injured college student as a figure deserving of community support, and to view even a limited recovery as evidence of the goodness of God, are not unaligned with regional preferences for self-reliance and for taking responsibility for one’s own actions, however dire the consequences. The inevitable court case-in which the Andaverde family named not only SAE and Tri Delta as defendants, but also the University of Idaho and the Idaho State Board of Education-was dismissed on summary judgment because there was no dispute that Andaverde fell out of an open window, and because there was no evidence of an inherently dangerous condition in the house: that the window was open was obvious to anyone who walked into the room. The court determined that no other person or institution had a duty to protect Amanda from the actions and decisions-the decision to drink alcohol, as a minor; the decision to climb into a bunk bed; the impulse to roll over-that led to her accident.
Andaverde’s case seemed to me to be an isolated tragedy, until I sent away to the Latah County courthouse for a copy of the complaint and discovered within it this sentence: “Amanda’s fall was the second fall of a student from an upper-story fraternity house window at the University of Idaho within approximately a two-week period.” This struck me as an astonishing coincidence. ” He, too, had been airlifted to Seattle, and incredibly, the two fought for their lives in the same critical-care unit at Harborview Medical Center. I discovered that two months after Andaverde’s fall, a 20-year-old student at Washington State-“quite intoxicated,” in the laconic assessment of a local cop-pitched forward and fell from a third-floor window of payday loans online for Connecticut Alpha Kappa Lambda, escaping serious injury when his fall was broken by an SUV parked below. That these three events were not greeted on either campus by any kind of clamoring sense of urgency-that they were, rather, met with a resigned sort of “here we go again” attitude by campus administrators and with what appeared to be the pro forma appointment of an investigative task force-sparked my interest, and so it was that I entered the bizarre world of falls from fraternity houses, which, far from being freakish and unpredictable events, are in fact fairly regular occurrences across the country.
During the 2012–13 school year on the Palouse-where students from the two campuses often share apartments and attend parties at each other’s schools-the falls continued. In September, a student suffered serious injuries after falling off the roof of the Alpha Tau Omega house at the University of Idaho, and two days later a Washington State student fell three stories from a window at Phi Kappa Tau. In November, a 19-year-old suffered critical head injuries when he fell backwards off a second-floor balcony at the Washington State Lambda Chi Alpha house, necessitating the surgical removal of part of his skull. In ed Krysta Huft filed a suit against the Delta Chi fraternity, seeking damages for a broken pelvis resulting from a 2011 fall, which she claims was from the house’s third-story sleeping porch onto a basketball court beneath it.
Across the country, kids fall-disastrously-from the upper heights of fraternity houses with some regularity
I decided to widen my search, and quickly discovered that this is not a phenomenon particular to the Northwest. They tumble from the open windows they are trying to urinate out of, slip off roofs, lose their grasp on drainpipes, misjudge the width of fire-escape landings. On , a student at the University of California at Berkeley attempted to climb down the drainpipe of the Phi Gamma Delta house, fell, and suffered devastating injuries; on e year, a 21-year-old student at Gannon University, in Pennsylvania, died after a fall from the second-floor balcony of the Alpha Phi Delta house the night before; on May 13, a Cornell student was airlifted to a trauma center after falling from the fire escape at Delta Chi; on es Madison University fell from the roof of the three-story Delta Chi house and was airlifted to the University of Virginia hospital; on December 1, a 19-year-old woman fell eight feet from the Sigma Alpha Mu house at Penn State.