t was a cold, January day on Olivet College’s campus. The wind chill reached to about 20 degrees below zero and the ground, heavily covered in ice and snow, caused student injuries.
Specifically, two students injuredthemselves on Wednesday, Jan. 23 and on Wednesday, Jan. 30. The students said they got injured from the icy conditions of the parking lots and sidewalks.
On Jan. 23, freshman Faith Lucas said she was making her way back to the Margaret Upton Conservatory of Music from Shipherd Hall when she slipped on the icy slope coming from the side door of the residence hall.
“I felt like I was on like a—ice rink or somethin’,” she said. Lucas also said that she felt “stuck” and realized she had hurt her leg. She said her leg was not sprained, and only hurt for a day and a half until she recovered. “...it’s dangerous out here—Michigan weather is not predictable at all so ya’ll [Grounds workers] need to be on standby [with salting],” said Lucas.
Freshman Mariah Gossett said she also felt Grounds workers need to put more salt down on the ground for it to be safer to walk on. She said that she is “scared” to walk outside now after suffering an injury on Jan. 30 inthe parking lot behind Shipherd Hall. She said that she was about to walk to her friend’s car when her incident occurred.
“As soon as I stepped out of the snow, I slid on the ice and just fell like straight on my back . . . . Why isn’t the parking lot clean?”, she said. Then, after slipping a second time, trying to open the car door, Gossett said that her back was in pain for three days.
Both Lucas and Gossett said even the traction of their boots did not matter for the amount of ice there was. Lucas said she did not have a lot of traction on her boots when she slipped. However, Gossett said her boots had a lot of traction on them, but still slipped and fell.
Junior Taylor Robbins, who broke her leg on Jan. 30 after slipping and falling in the parking lot of Kedron Apartments, not College property, said that it “sucks” walking on campus and
its stairs using crutches because it is “slippery”.
Freshman Grounds worker Brian Taylor said that Grounds is aware of the students getting injured because of the ice and are trying the best they can. He said that the reason for the conditions on campus are because the workersare “understa ed”, so there are four to six people working at a time. They have to go around the whole campus and only have a select amount of time.
When asked what Grounds is trying to do to prevent these injuries from continuing, Taylor said that they have been working harder and harder to do so and are trying to hire more students, they have been interested because this job is “harder” than any other job on campus.
When contacted by email, Physical Plant Director Larry Colvin said that he is aware of students getting injured due to slips and falls through the Campus Safety reports. He said that to prevent more injuries, the Grounds crew has two workers in the early morning to salt and shovel the snow and sleet, and even try to get “ahead of the problem” by occasionally doing this in the evening. He said that the student workers are mainly responsible to take care of the stairs and entrances to buildings.
“With as many sidewalks, drives, and parking lots as there are here, it will always take most of the day to get caught up,” said Colvin. He also said that they use machines to help remove the snow from frequently used areas “as quickly as possible.” However, Colvin said that the streets and some sidewalks are managed by the City of Olivet and they have no control over that.
Colvin also said as students continue to walk and drive on campus, “care needs to be taken this time of year regardless of where one goes or travels.”