By Carlo Valladares, Kahleel Bragg
Assistant News Editor, Staff Writer
On Wednesday, April 9, James Carroll, a junior Information Management Technology major, witnessed an incident involving a fellow student, a tree, and Public Safety.
That morning, Alfonso Mora, a sophomore Computer Science major, “woke up, took a shower, ate breakfast, went to class from 9:30 to 12:20, and then went straight to Hillwood.” It was there that he met up with friends and asked, “Do you want to go climb a tree?”
Around 1:30 p.m., Mora walked over to the tall tree in front of Kumble Hall and began to climb. “The tree actually wasn’t that bad of a climb. There were a couple of branches that got in my way, so it was slightly like a maze,” Mora said, illustrating his climb. “A term me and my friends use, we call them ‘ladders,’ it’s like a step, hand, hold, step; like you’re climbing up a ladder.”
Mora explained that he asked his friends to climb, because he himself enjoys it. “I just love climbing, so I always try to encourage people to do stuff that they don’t usually do,” he said.
However, none of his friends took him up on the offer, but instead, they participated in other ways. “I actually timed him. It took him three minutes to climb the tree,” Carroll said.
According to Mora, climbing trees helped him conquer his fear of heights. He explained that he now considers himself a rock climber, and that he started climbing trees at a park in Bayside, Queens. Mora does not discriminate against any tree. If he likes it, he climbs it.
Once Mora was up in the tree, bystanders started taking notice of him. “I was chilling in the tree, my friends were just making jokes at the bottom, and people were walking by wondering why my friends were looking up and making jokes,” he said.
According to Carroll, about 20 people gathered around the tree, curious about what was taking place. Carroll explained that this was something he had seen Mora do before on campus. Mora claimed he climbed the same tree two days before.
Soon after Mora was stationed in the tree, Public Safety received a call from someone who said there was a boy in a tree. Carroll thought, “Either he was going to get written up, or they were going to take him in to meet with the Dean or somebody.”
Once they arrived to the scene, Public Safety asked Mora to come down. A Public Safety Officer commented on Mora’s climbing skills, saying he was impressed that Mora managed to get as high as he did in the tree, according to Carroll. “Hey, you know we’re going to have to write you a ticket for this,” said one of the Public Safety Officers jokingly, according to Carroll.
James Contarino, a Public Safety Lieutenant, asked Mora to come down for his own safety. Mora told Public Safety that he just likes climbing trees, and that it is “good exercise.” Mora claims that he was not harassed in any way for his leisurely activity. He says he plans to climb more trees.