Fordham University Student Housing Incident Serves as a Reminder of Why University Loft Takes Safety Seriously

Recent news stories have reported that a Fordham University student, Kei Usami, is suing the university and others after becoming paralyzed from a February 2011 fall from his loft-style dormitory bed. Even though the bed in question was not a University Loft bed (Fordham University is not a University Loft client), we send our concern for the Usami family and the Fordham community.

We understand this is not something that the university wished had happened but some steps could have been taken to help all parties involved:

  1. In this incident at Fordham, it has been reported that the loft-style bed did not have bed side guard rails installed.  There is no way to know if a guardrail may have prevented this accident from occurring.
  2. Students should always be able to request guard rails from their university housing department if rails are not currently installed.  Make sure they’re aware of this.
  3. University Loft can retrofit guard rails on any University Loft bed ever made, and we have enough rails on hand to fit every student residence bed in the United States.
  4. University Loft’s Safety Standards include warnings and installation information that provide clear guidance for the use and installation of side guard rails for top bunks.
  5. Regardless of the manufacturer, University Loft recommends that all universities have a disaster plan that encompasses conditions in the university housing and dormitory environments; and we can assist any college or university in preparing such a plan.

Clearly, every living environment, including university student residences and on-campus student housing, can become unsafe if not properly constructed or if improperly used. This is why University Loft Company works hard to construct our university housing furniture — including our loft-style beds — to the highest standards of safety and durability.

Our beds and other student furniture are made from Hevea Brasiliensis, a type of Environmentally Farmed Timber (EFT) that has been shown by the independent Federal Testing Laboratories to be stronger than Northern Red Oak. In fact, our bunk beds have been proven to withstand four tons of pressure. What’s more, University Loft beds are available with the only patented guard rails that slide with the bunking system. It’s all part of our commitment to design innovation and safety.

Again, we will never know whether measures could’ve been taken to prevent this accident and, as a result, its tragic outcome will unfortunately affect many lives for years to come. Even though University Loft furniture was not involved in the Fordham incident, we encourage all school administrators, university housing buyers, teachers, parents and students to exercise the utmost caution and responsibility. We firmly believe the university housing environment should be a comfortable place to live and learn, and we are doing our part to make sure it’s a safe place, too.

James Jannetides, University Loft Founder and CEO

About University Loft Company and our solid wood modular residence life furniture:

Since 1984, when James Jannetides built a loft configuration for his own dorm room at Southern Illinois University, hundreds of thousands of college students have enjoyed better campus living thanks to University Loft furniture. Today, University Loft serves more than 1,200 colleges, universities and related student housing partners. As Jannetides’ says: “We are always learning, always innovating, and always improving … our environment, our products, and our service. We are University Loft Company.”