By Kylie Heisz, Kayla Smith & Emmy Wolfe
As the semester draws near an end, the Wisconsin winter weather starts to roll in. As many students have previously experienced, the snow is starting to become an ongoing problem directly related to their safety.
Even if a student has never experienced snow or a Wisconsin winter before, the danger of what comes with it is stranger to none. Macenzie Hanson, an on-campus resident, said, “The roads are never cleared well, and the sidewalks can be okay sometimes. But the salting of both isn’t great, and it’s a slippery mess out there most days.” The main concern of on-campus and commuter students is the quality and frequency of plowing the roads, parking lots, and sidewalks. “The conditions are, more often than not, terrible. I think that plowing comes quite late and could be more efficient. Salting should happen more frequently than it currently does,” said Talia Boyea, a commuter student.
The maintenance staff of housing is in charge of clearing the sidewalks by housing, but most of the plowing in the housing area of campus is contracted out to a local third party. Plowing is a controversial issue for many on campus, as it is needed, but it also causes many problems. Students have reported being plowed in, unable to move their cars, damage to their cars from the snowplows, as well as the plowing happening without salting. When it comes to paying for damages, if a student can prove it was due to the snowplows, they can work it out with the University Police or contact the responsible party directly. Many of these issues turn the parking lot for students into a dangerous ice rink for cars to play bumper cars in.
The roads surrounding campus but not on University property are technically not the responsibility of the University. However, the conditions of the roads affect both commuters and on-campus students with cars. “The highways are kept up the best more than anything in the area. The main roads are good but not the greatest. Side roads that aren’t used as often are most like University roads,” said Boyea. Though the University can do nothing with the quality control of the plowing of the outside roads, it is pertinent for students and professors to keep up to date with the quality of roads and if it’s safe to travel.
While this is just the beginning of winter, students’ safety will continue to be at risk through the winter months. The concerns of the students and faculty of the University deserve to be heard. Winters in Wisconsin are nothing to joke about, and a topic of such seriousness deserves the University’s full attention. Many students hope with the predictions of the winter conditions getting worse. The University will begin to take steps towards making a safer way for students to travel on campus.