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MIT students drop piano from roof in annual rite

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Residents of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology dorm have rolled an upright piano off their roof and watched it smash into another piano below in an annual spring ritual.

The quirky tradition celebrates the last day students can drop classes without having them appear on their college transcript.

About 200 onlookers watched Thursday afternoon as the piano crashed into a second piano, a baby grand, positioned on the ground for a better smash. People scrambled for souvenir pieces — piano keys, hammers, strings and splinters.

Organizers say the tradition began in 1972 at Baker House and became an annual event in 2006.

Broken, donated pianos used for the event, which is coordinated with MIT security and emergency management officials.

Rodrique Ngowi can be reached at