Mon. Oct 14th, 2019

Say What?

This archived article was written by: BJ Harmon & Les Bowen

We saw the sign.
Ace of Base is old enough that we can make reference to it and not be mocked publicly.
BJ would like to thank the alert readers who sent the letter to the editor concerning the incident with the photographers at CEU’s production of The Nutcracker. While recognizing that the issue could have been dealt with in a more cordial and professional manner, I wonder if they were just not observant or ignored the signs posted on theatre entrances notifying audience that no photography would be allowed.
Way to be observant! We appreciate letters to the editor. Keep ’em coming. But mistakes like that deserve to be mocked.
Fishtailing in the parking lots
Chalk another one up for CEU’s facilities maintenance. We’re sure many have noticed the ice problems in the parking lot between the Reeves Building and the BDAC. For those who never park in the overcrowded lot, allow us to explain.
First, we don’t know what the planners were thinking when they designed the size of the lots around the Reeves Building. The lot to the north of the building could easily have been designed to park a dozen more cars.
We do realize, however, that our college officials are not always entirely responsible for some of these types of decisions. Many of the decisions come from a state level and are made by those individuals who have demonstrated their competence so well as to earn a position in upper management, where they can be closely supervised.
CEU needs more parking. Of course, adding parking near the Reeves Building would eliminate the trees that are planted there now, beautifying campus. But we think it’s readily apparent how local and state facilities maintenance feels toward trees. We believe these trees were planted in a gesture to replace the trees behind the CBB and the majestic blue spruce that was murdered in favor of the Tumor Tower of Doom west of Aaron Jones Hall. Yeah, like a few saplings will replace trees as old as the college.
Now the lot’s folly is ice. We wish to make it clear that we understand that snow removal is a touchy subject at the college. We understand that there are some budget issues that result in excuses that seem almost legitimate for not removing the snow.
So before anyone gets their undies in a bunch, take a deep breath. Normally, we are motivated to write this column by some desire to make a mockery of these types of mistakes. Unfortunately, mistakes are made by individuals, who often take offense. However, we hope to make it clear that we do not wish to belittle anyone.
We are writing in an honest effort to voice our opinion in favor of the personal safety of others. We’re still going to do it in our traditional manner, which often offends those who oversee the programs we discuss.
Of course, it took a month for this to happen. There may be plausible reasons why facilities maintenance personnel haven’t noticed some of the problems with ice on campus. They park in their private lot north of Sessions Hall and drive on the sidewalks in their Toro carts. They don’t have a reason to use the icy lots, and don’t slip as easily on the ice as they drive over it. But for those whose cars fishtail as we come around the blind corner by the dumpster in the Reeves lot, the ice proves hazardous.
The Eagle even published a side-bar about the problem last week. Campus police posted yellow tape notifying everyone not to park parallel (Never mind that the curbs were never painted red like they should have been when the building opened last fall).
The lot at the Reeves Building is an obvious concern; however, we noticed at least seven trouble spots where ice could cause an accident for a car or pedestrian, possibly both.
We know that the facilities maintenance department has received at least two calls out of concern for safety in parking lots and sidewalks.
This issue needs to be taken care of in a timely manner. Snow sat in the parking lots for almost two weeks after the first snowfall before there were any attempts at removal.
Just a clue for whoever was supposed to clear the snow: CEU is not a bank. You are not a banker. You don’t just work from 9-5. You even have to work some holidays. We’d even guess that there are salaried employees who are somehow responsible for the delay of snow removal. Salaried employees are paid to get a job done, regardless of how long it takes or when it needs to be done. That’s why they are paid salaries instead of wages.
Snow that sits as long as it did in CEU’s parking lots and then gets driven over turns to slush. Just one good freeze, and you’ve got a sheet of ice a few inches thick.
Considering the problem could have been prevented, and that something needs to be done, we have our own suggestion. Everybody ready? Here’s the answer: deicer (also referred to as snow melter, and often sold under brand names like SnoMelt). This is available at a number of hardware stores. When you put it on ice, it melts the ice. Then the ice is gone.
Deicer is a cost-effective solution to the problem. It doesn’t require hiring new personnel nor special training. It is possible that the facilities maintenance personnel are so occupied that they can’t take care of the problem personally.
They appear to be hard workers. We see them driving in their carts with the appearance of urgency. In no way do we wish to imply that they have the extra few minutes required to fix this problem. Well, maybe we are. But in lieu of that, we suggest that hiring someone to take care of the problem could be a solution.
When the college has a $1 million deficit, this may seem impossible. But the risk of public safety and the lawsuits that could result due to the negligence of the college far outweigh the concerns of any budget.
Allow us to refer to an idea presented by Pres. Ryan Thomas two years ago when he addressed CEU’s deficit issue. One way of cutting costs in personnel is to employ students. Many students qualify for federal work-study. Students work for lower wages than full-time staff. Students don’t get benefits. Any way you look at it, student work is less expensive.
Many of these students will pay tuition or housing fees with this money. Work-study students could be kept employed by the college to plant flowers and beautify the college in the spring. They can mow lawns in the summer and clear sidewalks and parking lots in the winter.
Deicer is available at many retail outlets. If you have trouble finding it, ask a clerk, “Where is your deicer?” The product is sold in either a bag or a box. Buy the box, bring it to campus and sprinkle it on the lot. That ought to take about 20 minutes. You could hire a student. At $5.15 an hour, 20 minutes would cost $1.72. That’s not a lot of money. We’ve got that much in pocket change right now. So if you need the cash, we’ll donate.
Do the public a favor and fix the problem. In the meantime, we’ll take up a collection for deicer. Anyone willing to donate can contact us at saywhat@eagle.ceu.edu or bring your donations to the CEU Eagle newsroom. Once we collect enough to buy a bulk box of snow melt, we’ll take on the parking lots and sidewalks ourselves. If we don’t make enough, we’ll buy a six-pack of Mountain Dew.

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