Jonathan Morales, a University of Illinois student, died Saturday, March 4 after falling from an apartment balcony during a St. Patrick’s Day party.
Morales, 23, was at a friend’s apartment in Champaign, Illinois on Saturday when he fell off of a balcony and into a courtyard at the building.
Morales and friends were taking part in Unofficial, an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration held before students leave for spring break. The University of Illinois has called for the event to be permanently canceled after Morales’ death.
The death of Jonathan Morales, 23, of Franklin Park, Illinois, is suspected to be an accident after he toppled over the balcony railing from his fourth-floor apartment and fell to the concrete courtyard in the interior of the apartment complex, Champaign police Sgt. Dennis Baltzell tells PEOPLE.
Morales’s death was the third fatality during Unofficial, according to Robin Kaler, university spokeswoman. One woman died in 2006 after the motorcycle she was on crashed and a man was killed in 2011 after two vehicles hit him, she said.
“We would like very much for it to never happen again,” university spokeswoman Robin Kaler says of Unofficial. “It’s a danger to our students…We lost a young man. That’s absolutely tragic.”
Unofficial was started over two decades ago by a Champaign bar owner who noticed he was losing business on St. Patrick’s Day due to the holiday falling during spring break. According to a history of the day, Unofficial takes place before spring break and “is typically celebrated by donning green clothing and regalia and consuming large quantities of alcohol with friends at a bar or private party, often starting early in the morning.”
Morales was a junior studying communication at the Champaign-Urbana campus of the University of Illinois. A GoFundMe page raising money for Morales’ funeral can be found here. RIP.
Jonathan Morales, a 23-year-old University of Illinois student, died Saturday, March 4, after falling from an apartment balcony during a St Patrick’s Day party.
What Is Unofficial?
Unofficial is a St. Patrick’s Day celebration that takes place before spring break and “is typically celebrated by donning green clothing and regalia and consuming large quantities of alcohol with friends at a bar or private party, often starting early in the morning.”