Britton O'Daly

All of a sudden, it was gone.

Students in Branford College were left puzzled last month when the college’s popular rope swing disappeared from the courtyard after a male tourist fell from it and was knocked unconscious during a student-led tour.

Shortly after the tourist’s fall, Nancy Franco, the director of the Yale Visitor Center, sent a message to student tour guides describing the accident, which prompted Branford administrators to remove the swing from the courtyard.

“This week there was an unfortunate accident when a visitor fell off the swing in Branford,” Franco wrote. “I realize that the swing has never been part of your tours, but it can happen in an instant and we ask that you steer people away from trying to climb on that or anything else.”

Branford Head Enrique De La Cruz and Branford Dean Sarah Insley did not respond to emails requesting comment on the status of the tourist and the swing, which hung from a tree close to the entrance of the college common room. But the swing’s removal has come as a blow to students in the college.

“The most beautiful college in America is no longer the most beautiful college in America,” said Maria Velicu ’20.

Branford does not feel the same without the rustic courtyard attraction, said Marius Constantin GRD ’20, who added that he brought friends on a tour of the courtyard earlier in the week and was disappointed when he saw the swing was no longer there.

In a college-wide email on Sunday, De La Cruz sought to assuage students’ fears, writing that the swing is undergoing a safety evaluation and will likely return to the courtyard soon.

“Many have asked about the swing — it is being evaluated for safety, and we expect it back soon,” De La Cruz wrote. “I understand how important it is to Branford, and share these sentiments, but respectfully request your patience until it does [return].”

Branford College Council President Shannon Flores ’18 told the News she too was initially disappointed to learn that the swing had been removed. But she said she is confident De La Cruz will return the swing to its original location shortly.

Christopher Sung |