Though warmer weather is finally making its way back to UW-Whitewater, it’s important to reflect on this past winter and look at areas we can improve on for next year.
Throughout the winter, it seemed many walkways were constantly spotted with patches of snow packed down by human travel on campus.
With temperatures rising above the freezing point one day and dropping well below zero degrees the next, unless this snow was carefully and fully cleared, it would melt and refreeze, making sidewalks more and more slick.
Though this was not true for every sidewalk, road and parking lot on campus, UW-Whitewater students should not have to worry about trudging across snow and ice anywhere on campus to make it to class.
Here at UW-Whitewater, student safety should be at the top of our priority list.
How many times have you seen a disabled student struggling through the snow in a wheelchair? If you answered at least once, that’s one too many.
On Feb. 7, at 1:35 p.m. officer Nicholas Thompson had to stop and assist a disabled female student whose wheelchair was stuck in the snow at a cross walk.
We can’t forget UW-Whitewater is said to be one of the most accessible universities in the state and we take great pride in that statement.
However, with more than three inches of snow on walkways at times, how are disabled students expected to get to class? Are they expected to strap on their snow tires and chains and kick it into four low?
If we want to uphold this positive image, we need to truly keep campus accessible, and not just in the residence halls.
Accessibility should apply to all areas of campus, including the sidewalks and crosswalks that should be snow-free.
On campus, Facilities Planning and Management, Residence Life and management operations of auxillary facilities make a combined effort to remove snow.
The main goal for the FP&M Snow Removal Plan for 2010-2011 is to make campus accessible by 7 a.m. to all students after any snow accumulation.
The snow removal plan defines accessible as meaning “one pass” by hand shovelers or “motorized snow removal equipment” campus-wide.
According to the plan though, this doesn’t mean “bare, dry pavement should be expected after each snowfall or ice storm.”
However, with the safety of students in mind, shouldn’t this be the ideal goal? Anyone who has slipped and fallen on the way to class, whether to learn or to teach, would agree.
The plan states snow removal efforts will carry on from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but after 3 p.m. only minimal services will be provided. This consists of a dedicated two-person team between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., but only “[if] staffing is available.”
With the safety of students at stake, staffing for snow removal should be readily available when needed.
Considering not only do many students still have classes after 3 p.m., there are also numerous extracurricular activities and all students need to eat, so snow removal efforts should remain strong throughout the evening.
Furthermore, FP&M only responds to calls from police services or university administrators.
Even if you see a safety hazard, all you can do is call in a complaint to police services and hope they contact FP&M.
Since we all pay to be here, we should expect safe travels on campus.
Slipping and falling could lead to injuries, making it even harder for students to get to class.
Also, what about pedestrians in crosswalks? Vehicles sliding on ice or snow could easily slide through crosswalks, taking out pedestrians they are unable to stop for.
Vehicles have slid off the road on Starin Road before, and if snow removal services don’t improve the road’s conditions it will certainly happen again.
We need to make our voices heard and hope that together, students and faculty can provide effective snow removal efforts on campus.