Frozen walkways affect accessibility on campus


Morgana Carroll, News Editor

Every October, Disability Services reach out to students who have registered that they have a disability that affects their mobility. They compile the information given by students in order to prioritize the walkways that disabled students use when it is time for snow removal. 

“Snow and ice make it more difficult for everyone to safely navigate campus,” Student Disability Services Manager Wendy Holden said. “For students with disabilities that impact mobility, the problem can be exacerbated.”

Some students have voiced concerns saying that the ice and snow still make traveling during the winter months difficult.

Andrew Ulstad

“[The pathways are] historically awful unless it’s one of the areas with heated pipes underneath,” senior in Physics and Theater Studies Christine Anderson said. “When I lived on North Campus there were many times that I slipped and fell, especially in the residence hall parking lots and their connected walkways.”

Facilities Director Sunny Bloxham said that they keep a close eye on the weather forecast and show up the night before to plow and sand, usually between 2-4 a.m. For unexpected freezing temperatures, Bloxham says that they work closely with public safety and adapt their plans as needed. 

“The facilities team has been very responsive in working with Disability Services when problems are identified,” Holden said. “Snow removal is a massive undertaking and I have always appreciated the team’s willingness to quickly respond to any accessibility concerns.”

Anderson said that it often felt that the inclined sections that connected sidewalks to other walkways weren’t as thoroughly salted as they should have been and were usually more icy when other parts of the sidewalk weren’t frozen at all. 

“Getting to Samuelson from any of the parking lots has been really interesting since I have 9 a.m. class and it hasn’t warmed up enough most days to have melted yet,” Anderson said. “Because I walk with a cane I often find it sliding out under me, even with the sand they put down.” 

“It isn’t always possible to clear every path on campus but the main walkways and paths to each building are cleared. Priority is given to clearing accessible routes which means the ramp into a building might be cleared before the stairs are,” Holden said.