May 2, 2005

Disco Ball Affixed To McGraw Tower

Print More

At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Cornell Police were notified that an unidentifiable object had been affixed to the top of McGraw Tower sometime in the middle of Friday night, bringing back memories of the pumpkin that was placed on the top of the tower on Halloween in 1997.

According to Officer Stanley Slovik of the Cornell Police, the object will be removed by crane sometime this morning.

The object appears to be a disco ball with a pole through it, attached to the tower with rope, according to Tommy Bruce, Cornell’s vice president of communications and media relations. “Preliminary investigations indicate that it is a disco ball, but we haven’t put it all together yet,” said Captain Curtis Ostrander of the Cornell Police.

Officers and administrators gathered around the tower at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Saturday and, using a telescope and surveyor’s equipment, attempted to get a better look at the object.

The telescope used was the same telescope used by Prof. John Fitzpatrick, ornithology, to re-discover the ivory-billed woodpecker last week.

The area directly around the clocktower has been roped off by the Cornell Police until the object is removed from the tower.

“Until we know exactly what it is, until we get it down, it is safer to go around it,” Bruce said. “It’s going to take a real good crane,” said Officer Steven Shirley. When asked if they had any idea how the sphere made it to the top of the tower, no one seemed to have any idea.

In November 2000, The Sun interviewed, anonymously, the roommate of one of the perpetrators of the 1997 scheme. The roommate described the process, explaining that the group used an access hatch on the side of the roof of the tower and used the roof’s two-inch thick tiles to climb up and place the pumpkin on the top.

The question, then, arises, of whether or not it is possible that the hatch was used again. According to David Yeh, assistant vice president and university registrar, the hatch was welded shut after the 1997 incident.

“You would have to hide in the bell area. A rock climber could climb up there, but we have no idea how they could get over the ledge to the roof,” Bruce said.

“I’d like to know how it got there myself,” Shirley said.

Archived article by Eric Finkelstein
Sun Managing Editor