He lowered himself down the side of the building as Hinton James residents — some of whom reported him to housing officials — watched from the balcony.
Senior Christian Reyes said he’s an experienced climber. He has been climbing for three years and spent a summer living in a tent in Kentucky and climbing. Monday night, he decided to rappel off the top floor of the tallest campus building he could think of: Hinton James.
“I follow my vision and sometimes that brings me into conflict with law enforcement,” he said.
Reyes said he was on the 10th floor with his climbing rope tied off when a resident adviser approached. To avoid a confrontation with the RA, Reyes jumped off the side of the balcony and rappelled away.
The RA was not the end of his troubles. When Reyes met up with his friends after the jump, he realized he had left his backpack on the 10th floor. He said the bag included personal items with his full name that revealed his identity to the officials at Hinton James.
“It seems like students were concerned, and they came down and let us know,” Allan Blattner, director of housing and residential education, said.
An hour after he reached the ground near the residence hall’s volleyball court, Reyes said he received a phone call and had to meet with the Hinton James community director.
“My understanding is the officer just discussed the inherent danger involved with the individual,” Department of Public Safety spokesperson Randy Young said.
Reyes said the University sanctioned him on counts of “using outdoor equipment inside of a building,” “climbing and rappelling” and “illegal entry into Hinton James.”
Reyes said he did not anticipate such severe consequences. He claimed full responsibility and contacted a lawyer.
“I definitely didn’t think it was going to be this much of an issue,” Reyes said.
Reyes said he did not use any illegal means to reach the 10th floor — a resident at Hinton James let him in.
Blattner said there would be some punishment for Reyes but could not elaborate.
“It certainly violates our community living standards,” Blattner said.
Reyes said he may be evicted from his Ram Village Apartments home for violating UNC housing rules.
Reyes cautioned other students against attempting activities like climbing and rappelling from campus buildings. He said the risks and the consequences he is facing dissuaded him from trying again.
In the meantime, Reyes is not sure what his punishment will be.
“Housing determines your sanctions based on prior precedent,” he said. “There is no prior precedent.”