News

They slip, they slide, they all fall down

Castleton students are saying the condition of campus walkways this winter is unacceptable. They say snow, slush and ice buildups have been causing the journey across campus to be messy – and potentially dangerous.
Professor Candy Fox has heard first-hand the struggle students have had walking to her class after a storm.
“Every single student in the class, every single one, either fell on the way to class or almost fell,” said Fox after discussing the walk to class on Feb. 21.
One of the most common complaints is that the sidewalk clearing crew is not getting to work early enough to let the salt do its job before students need to go to class.
Jennifer Morelli, a sophomore, recalled one treacherous morning. While walking down the walkway hill by Ellis, she said she witnessed a girl slip at the top and slide all the way to the bottom, where the sidewalk connects with the road.
“I watched three other people fall that day,” says Morelli. “My whole suite has 8 a.m.’s and I know it may be early, but we are the ones who are slipping on everything.”
Students are also complaining about that the lack of complete clearing of slush on sidewalks. Complaints of soggy feet and ruined shoes also float around the academic halls after coming in from the slippery outside.
“Who knew that sidewalks could be such a pain” said sophomore Juliette Iffland. “They don’t take it seriously, they don’t take their time.”
Many students feel that since they pay to go here, the problem should not be occurring on such a regular basis.
But according to Jake Rick, CSC Grounds Supervisor, the severity of the winter is to blame for the problem.
“This is the first good Vermont winter we’ve seen in a while,” Rick said. “We’ve used 80 tons of salt and 40 tons of sand this winter so far.”
Understaffing is also greatly impacting the speed in which the snow is being cleared, he said. The entire Physical Plant department consists of six members that are responsible for snow clearing.
When it snows, the team is broken up with four people clearing parking lots and roadways on campus, and two clearing the sidewalks.
“We have over four miles of sidewalk to cover,” Rick said.
With only two machines covering that distance of sidewalk, students and workers say it is clear that the department needs to expand in order for this problem to cease reoccurring in the future.
 “As the college continues to grow I hope our department can as well,” Rick said. For now however, he said the department will continue to do the best with the equipment that they have.
Luckily for students the spring weather is quickly approaching and the threat of slipping and sliding their way to class will soon be a worry of the past to be replaced with dry and sunny sidewalks and worry free trips across campus.