Student Struck in Head by Falling Glass Panel in Cudahy Library

Kinnady Jones, 23, said she was struck on the head by the glass panel of a light fixture while sitting at the circulation desk on the first floor of Cudahy Library on Nov. 14.

Kinnday Jones, 23, was working a shift as a student librarian at the circulation desk of Cudahy Library on Nov. 14 when she heard a bang from above her head.

“It all happened so fast that I barely had time to think,” Jones said.

Suddenly, a glass panel from a light fixture above her fell from the ceiling and struck her, causing cuts on her arms and a bruise on her head. 

Jones, a fifth-year student, is double majoring in history and women and gender studies. She works as a student librarian in Cudahy Library. The glass panel struck her at 4 p.m., two hours into her shift.

The university did not give any explanation for the dislodging of the light and the falling of the glass panel. 

Jones heard the panel dislodge from the lighting fixture above her and covered her head with her arms. 

“I didn’t see it, but I knew the glass was going to fall on me,” Jones said. “All I was able to do was put my hands on my head to protect myself. It broke all over the place. It broke on my hair, it broke on my clothes.”

Nobody else in Cudahy Library was hit by the panel. 

Jones sustained minor injuries, including cuts on her hands and a bruise on her head. She said after the panel had shattered over her head, there were glass shards left in her hair. 

After the panel fell from the ceiling, Campus Safety and an ambulance were called, although only as a precautionary measure, according to Jones. She was examined by first responders, but was then sent home without any further medical attention.

Jones said she is working towards receiving compensation from Loyola for the injuries she received from the incident, but the school has not offered her any payment upfront.

Campus Safety did not respond to The Phoenix’s request for comment. 

Matt McDermott, a spokesperson for Loyola, said the university’s top priority is the health, safety, and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff.

“An on-call staff member from the Dean of Students office reached out to the student following the incident,” McDermott wrote.

Jones said she thinks the conditions of Cudahy Library are poor compared to the rest of the university’s buildings. She said she believes the university should do more to improve the maintenance and upkeep of the library. 

“Loyola doesn’t really care about the library in general,” Jones said. “There have been instances where books have mold on them and they don’t have any plans to replace them. There are other aspects of the library that are just old and falling apart, which is fine, but then they build a new gym.”

The Loyola maintenance department did not respond to The Phoenix’s request for comment.  

Cudahy Library is the third oldest building on campus, built in June of 1930, according to Loyola’s University Archives and Special Collections

Jones says she feels nervous about going back into the library after the incident. 

“I had to go in, and I just immediately saw the light above me and I tried not to stare at it for so long, which was really hard.”

McDermott did not respond to allegations raised by Jones concerning the library not being well maintained by the university. 

Amber Miller, the assistant dean of students, emailed Jones on behalf of the university with an apology one day after the incident occurred.

“I’m so sorry to hear that this occurred,” Miller wrote in an email to Jones. “Please let me know if there is anything that you need at this time. I’m here for you!”

Miller did not respond to The Phoenix’s request for comment.

McDermott wrote the university is taking necessary steps to ensure students are safe in the library. 

“Facilities also dispatched a team of technicians to manually inspect every light fixture in Cudahy Library,” McDermott wrote. “The University is committed to maintaining safe and accessible campus facilities, and regularly conducts preventative maintenance and upkeep of our physical plant.” 

Alise David is a junior nursing student who was studying in Cudahy Library on Nov. 14 and witnessed the panel fall from the ceiling onto the student librarian. 

“Behind me there was suddenly a loud crash,” Alise said. “Everyone gasped and took off their headphones and was just staring in that direction.”

Erik Odegaard is a junior nursing student who was studying with David and witnessed the incident in Cudahy Library on Nov. 14.

Odegaard said he was surprised how long it took for campus safety to arrive at the scene. 

“It took forever for Loyola to get anything over there, probably 20 to 30 minutes to even get a police officer,” Odegaard said. “It took another 15 to 20 minutes to get an ambulance over there to transport her.”

Odegaard said the student was visibly injured after the panel fell on her. 

“She was holding her head and complaining about pain, and she had to sit down,” Odegaard said. “She had a towel over her hand and she was covering her head.”

Jones said she feels very lucky to have walked away with only minor injuries. 

“I count my lucky stars that I got away with the few little cuts and the bruise,” Jones said.

Lilli Malone

Lilli Malone