Like every other student, The Argus editors were hoping for a snow day this past Monday, March 25. We think anyone would agree that a day in your pajamas would have been preferable to sloshing through a foot of snow to get to class.
When the news broke that there would be no snow day, we were bummed, but we understand why the IWU administration chose to keep the university open. Because May Term follows the spring semester so closely, IWU doesn’t have room in the schedule to cancel an entire day of classes.
So we can forgive the administration for not granting us a snow day. What we can’t forgive is the lack of shoveling and salting that took place in the morning hours on Monday. While it may seem trivial, unshoveled or unsalted sidewalks are a safety hazard for IWU residents.
Many assume that both Illinois State University and Heartland Community College closed because of their large number of off campus students, but this was not the case.
Both John Crabill, the Director of Environmental Health and Safety at ISU, and Allen Goben, the president of Heartland Community College, stated that walking hazards were a large reason why each closed.
“The local roadways were not a factor in calling a snow day,” Crabill said. “The determining factor in calling the snow day on Monday was that Grounds Services reported that they would only have about 60 percent of the parking lots and sidewalks cleared on campus by 8 a.m.”
“We have a very prairie-exposed university, so we get a tremendous amount of snow and wind blowing on campus,” Goben said. “That creates a walking hazard for our students, so that’s something we have to consider as well.”
It’s unfair that IWU students  would not get the same courtesy, seeing as a number of sidewalks were left unshoveled and the majority of them left unsalted until 10 a.m.
As junior Kelly Lamorena said, “Campus was still pretty bad for the students who had to get to 8 a.m. classes. I didn’t mind having class, but if we’re going to have class, the sidewalks should be cleared.”
Off-campus senior Kayla Worley agrees, saying, “Arriving on campus with a majority of the sidewalks still left unplowed was frustrating.”
Once again, while this may seem trivial, the slippery conditions of Illinois Wesleyan’s campus were legitimately dangerous.
On The Argus editorial board alone, there is one editor with two fractured ankles, one editor with torn tendons in her foot and one editor who recently recovered severe head trauma and cannot afford another head injury.
“I can think of elderly faculty members who were putting themselves in danger coming to school and risking a fall,” Lamorena said.
A slip on an icy patch of the sidewalk could send any of them or any other campus-goers to the hospital.
But this situation was not the fault of the Illinois Wesleyan Physical Plant.
Crabill points out that, since the snow was so wet, it took two to three times longer to clear away as it normally would have.
We can only assume Physical Plant was facing a similar situation.
“It’s not fair for Physical Plant to rush to get campus cleared when they are understaffed and lack the quality of equipment to get the job done quickly,” Lamorena said.
So while we understand why IWU chose not to cancel an entire day of school, an alternative might have been canceling morning classes. This decision would’ve given Physical Plant more time to clear the sidewalks and ensured the safety of IWU students.