Students, Faculty, and Staff Get Trapped in Beren Elevators Twice in One Morning

By: Fruma Landa and Sarah Brill  |  January 30, 2020

By Fruma Landa and Sarah Brill 

Following elevator incidents earlier this week on the Wilf Campus, on Thursday, January 30th at 10:20 a.m., a group of approximately 12 students and faculty members got stuck in an elevator in Stanton Hall, an academic building on the Beren Campus with 11 floors. 

When the descending elevator arrived at the seventh floor, the inner elevator doors opened but the outer doors, connecting the elevator to the seventh floor hallway, remained shut. 

Talya Hyman, SCW ‘20, commented to the YU Observer about her experience trapped in the elevator: “I was pretty calm during the whole thing Baruch HaShem but one student said, ‘This is my worst nightmare.’ It was a packed elevator. If I was alone, I definitely would have been more fearful. It took about 10 minutes or so to be freed”

The students were stuck for around five minutes until the outer elevator doors were pried opened and those stuck in the elevator were released.

Shana Devorah Plotsker, SCW ‘21, described the atmosphere in the elevator: “Overall, people were scared but people were reaching out and supporting each other, especially to [those] who were especially nervous […] The elevator had a friendly feeling, it was stressful and tense but everyone was talking with each other. There was also a really nice construction worker who was stuck in the elevator with us and tried to pry the doors open.”  

The incapacitated elevator had been the last remaining, functional elevator in Stanton Hall when the event transpired, leaving students and faculty frantically running up many flights of stairs to make it to class on time.

“I have class on the tenth floor. I had to walk up from the [third] floor (seven flights of stairs). I had an asthma attack between floors eight and nine and was unable to focus in class. This is unacceptable and needs to be fixed. As a side note, why doesn’t the university get new elevators instead of having to constantly fix the current ones? Are they really saving money in the long run? I want to see the numbers,” shared Zippy Spanjer, SCW ‘21. 

This was not the only elevator incident that occurred on the Beren Campus on January 30th. At 9:05 a.m., a group consisting of one professor, one worker, and four to five students also got stuck in an elevator on the seventh floor of Stanton Hall. 

Elisheva Kohn, SCW ‘21, a student who was stuck in the elevator, stated, “Thankfully, we were freed within a minute or so of getting stuck. Nevertheless, the experience was scary. Some students crouched on the floor, in fright, as they waited to be rescued. I no longer feel safe on campus.”

Students are raising calls to action. “Enough is enough. Our safety is being compromised and this administration does not seem to care. It’s time for us to take drastic action for our safety,” said Eliana Lindenberg, SCW ‘21, who is considering calling for a student walk-out. 

Randy Apfelbaum, YU Chief Facilities and Administrative Officer, commented to the YU Observer, “No one was in danger and our elevator technicians fixed the problem.”

Photo: Rescuing students from the stuck elevator on January 30th

Photo Source: Beren Campus student