This year the bitter winter, a staple of Massachusetts weather, somehow still took the Brandeis campus by surprise. This board questions why the campus appeared so unprepared for the low temperatures this past week, despite the fact that a cold front was forecasted. 

With all the adequate time to plan ahead, the campus was still covered in ice, with only certain paths salted and seemingly randomly. Furthermore, on the first night of the freeze last Wednesday, barely anything was salted — on the walk from the Village to the Charles River Apartments, also known as Grad, only the crossing over the train tracks was salted. The rest? Ice. 

The clearing of the snow appeared delayed, leaving the sidewalks and roads both prone to icing and hard to navigate. The Charles River Apartments’ parking lot still was not plowed before the snow bgan to melt, and many typically accessible paths are covered in varying layers of ice.  Additionally, black ice formed on many of the sidewalks and stairs around campus. 

The consequences of the lack of preparation are not small. Namely, injuries have resulted from the icy paths. Students took to Sidechat to complain, with one student writing, “how do i proceed with legal action against brandeis. fell down stairs today and ruptured my meniscus, pcl, and shattered my tail bone.” The student, who had just gotten out of the ER, also wrote, “i want every penny to come out of ron’s unreasonably girthy paycheck.”  

While the campus is sizable, it is important to salt all the walkways, including outdoor stairs, so that such injuries do not happen. If the paths remain dangerous, this board encourages students to take caution. 

The Rabb steps that lead to the Mandel Humanities Quad will be particularly dangerous, as will other outdoor staircases near Village and Ridgewood Quad. This board also implores the University to clear icicles to avoid any other injuries.

Black ice has reformed over spots that have been salted, and if patterns continue, that will not be taken care of in a timely and safe manner. We ask the University to protect their students properly and avoid dangerous walking and driving areas. There is no reason that Brandeis  should resemble an ice rink; that is what the Campus Activities Board’s events are for. 

That being said, the work of facilities and other campus staff should not go unnoticed or unappreciated. The lack of preparation is a University issue, not a staff issue, and those who stand out in the cold making sure campus is safer for students deserve recognition. 

Even if this is your first year surviving a Massachusetts winter, you are probably already aware of just how cold it can get. Make sure you have a warm coat — potentially something insulated or down — and get snow boots if you haven’t yet. Gloves, a scarf and a hat or earmuffs are important to have ready as well. Check temperatures and weather and plan ahead; no need for the cold to add to the stress of this semester. 

If you have a car, make sure you have brushes, ice scrapers and shovels, so you can get out of spots and drive safely. Be aware of icy roads, and steer into the skid.

Winter is not all bad, and we encourage students to take advantage of the snowy campus before it melts. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the season!