Zbigniew Grabowski ’08 suffered a severe spinal injury Wednesday night after he fell from a third story Butterfield B window. Although Grabowski spent time in the hospital after the fall, he is expected to return to campus this weekend.
Grabowski, who goes by Polik, was locked out of his dorm room in Butt B around midnight when he tried to enter his room from the outside window. He climbed the side of the building via small ledges at the bottom of the windowsills, making it to the third story before losing his grip and falling to the ground. He landed on his feet on a grassy patch but was unable to remain standing. The impact of his fall caused a compound fracture in the lower portion of Grabowski’s spine.
Nate Ash-Morgan ’08 was one of several who witnessed his friend fall. He immediately called Public Safety and 911. Several Public Safety officers responded to the call, including shift supervisor Lieutenant Jay Mantie. Ash-Morgan accompanied Grabowski in the ambulance to the emergency room and spent much of the night with his friend before returning to campus at 4:00 a.m on Thursday.
“Polik will get past the injury and the pain because he’s fearless and one of the toughest guys I know,” Ash-Morgan said. “I mean, who else would have the fearlessness to climb three stories just to avoid any form of authority?”
Standard procedure for a lockout from on-campus housing is to pick up a spare key at Student Life in Hi Rise during the daytime, or from the Resident Advisor on duty after 8 p.m. At night, there is also a lockout fee of $10.
“They need to make lock-outs less difficult to deal with,” said Sarah Bernier ’08. “Students feel a lot of pressure not to bother anyone when they’re locked out at night. You feel bad, waking up another student because you forgot your keys.”
Matt Pierce ’03 had a similar experience in the spring of 2000, when he tried to climb from the third floor of Butt C to the second.
“I had done it once before,” he said. “The second time didn’t work out so well.”
Pierce received a grade two concussion, bruised ribs and a cracked elbow from his fall.
“For three and a half years I was ‘the guy who fell out the window in Butt C.’ I imagine this guy will have the same stigma attached to him,” Pierce said.
Grabowski has spent the past week at his house. He is walking with a back brace, but doctors anticipate a full recovery. His friends say they are looking forward to his return.
“Polik is one of the first people I met here. He’s an awesome guy, and I’m glad he recovered as quickly as he did,” said Max Horwich ’08.