Francis Gieringer (COL ’11) received an unwelcome surprise during his Comparative Political Systems class in the Bunn Intercultural Center on Monday.

Sitting in the front-center of the ICC Auditorium, Gieringer was hit in the head when a light fixture dislodged from the ceiling and landed on his head. Coincidentally, he was the only student sitting in the front row of the center section.

GERMS arrived on the scene and escorted the student to the hospital, while students were asked to evacuate to the hallway. The class began only a few minutes late, with students instructed to sit behind the front rows.

Gieringer spent approximately three hours in the hospital following the accident. He sustained a minor head wound but has not shown signs of any prolonged effects.

“It was not as serious as it could have been; I think I was pretty fortunate,” Gieringer said. “I just got a minor head wound that’s healing. In terms of vision, I wasn’t affected, didn’t black out, coordination was all fine. It wasn’t too bad.”

Gieringer added that university personnel checked on him after the accident. He was visited by the dean of students when in the hospital, but that has been the extent of his contact with the university.

“The student sought medical attention following the incident, and was treated and released shortly thereafter,” Andy Pino, director of media relations, said. “Student Affairs has reached out to him to make sure he has everything he needs.”

Gieringer said, though, that he has considered the possibility of taking legal action.

“It is [something that concerns me], but it falls under that category of freak accidents,” he said. “In terms of taking any action with the university, I don’t know. . Jeanne Lord [associate vice president of student affairs] has been very helpful. Once again, I’m not sure.”

The university has responded to safety concerns and verified the security of the auditorium’s light fixtures.

“Facilities personnel have inspected the light fixtures in the auditorium, and they have taken additional measures to reinforce them,” Pino said.

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