multimedia journalist

Instagram video shows person climbing nine-story UNC-CH dorm building

By Amy Cockerham

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.— A video showing a man climbing the exterior of a nine-story dormitory on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus surfaced on the internet on Oct.16.

An Instagram account called UNCBarstool posted the video of the man climbing the exterior grating of a stairwell attached to the prominent UNC-CH underclassmen dormitory, Granville Towers, with the caption, “Don’t try this at home.” The post has since received around 7,500 views and over 900 likes.

Randy Young, a member of the university’s campus police media relations team, said that UNC-Chapel Hill police and Student Affairs are aware and began looking into the incident the night that the video surfaced.

“We can confirm the building in the video is indeed Granville Towers,” Young said.

Young said student safety remains the university’s top priority. It remains unclear when the video was recorded or how the man got onto the building.

“There have been no charges filed, and there is no police incident report,” Young said.

Granville Towers encompasses three different buildings, so students are not sure exactly which one the incident occurred at. Lauren Rasco is a junior at UNC-CH who lived in the East building of Granville Towers last year.

“I wonder what was going through his head,” Rasco said. “I don’t know how he held on to it.”

Rasco said if she had seen someone climbing a building that tall she would have immediately called the police. Jeni Cook, a member of the university’s media relations team, said a student died in 2003 after falling from the same dormitory featured in the recent Instagram video.

“At that time Granville Towers was not owned by the university,” Cook said. “We don’t have any further information to provide as Student Affairs does not keep records longer than 10 years.”

According to The Daily Tar Heel archives, there have been a number of deaths that have occurred at Granville Towers over the years, which include accidental falls from the stairwells and the windows, as well as suicides. Some other fatal falls at UNC-CH have occurred at Phillips Hall and Ehringhaus Residence Hall.

Students have been commenting and tagging each other in the Oct. 16 post, trying to figure out who climbed the building. Conor Fitzpatrick is a UNC-CH sophomore that lives in Granville Towers, and he said the behavior he saw in the video looked extremely dangerous.

“Knowing some students here, it doesn’t always shock me when I see students doing stuff like that,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick said that Granville Towers is currently undergoing renovations that started around three weeks ago. The old stairwell railings are being replaced, and paneling is being added to cover the grating on the exterior.

Fitzpatrick said he thinks the construction began for aesthetic purposes, but he does foresee the new paneling making Granville Towers more difficult to climb in the future.