Ineffective snow removal should yield policy change

Anyone who has ever spent an extended period of time here in Erie knows that it snows for what feels like an eternity.
So why is removing the snow a problem every year when we know it’s coming?

There is an obvious feeling of frustration and disenchantment with the condition of sidewalks and parking lots.

Surprisingly, West Briggs, 38th Street, parking lot 4 and the bookstore parking lot are all contracted to an outside firm. East Briggs to Lewis, including the 41st Street townhouses are contracted to another firm.

The question then is: Why are we paying firms who are incapable of doing a good job at clearing roads?

Around campus, it’s maintenance’s job to clear snow. Workers often arrive no later than 5 a.m. to remove snow when a storm hits; that being said there are only six groundskeepers to do the job.

This year, the salt manufacturer has cut Mercyhurst’s allotment, causing a shortage not only here but at North East as well.
Equipment to remove large quantities of snow is often rented — only we are unable to rent certain ones until the end of February.
Furthermore, Mercyhurst has no specific instructions when it comes to snow removal; maintenance tries to focus on the areas around academic buildings.

“We cannot always achieve this during persistent snow fall,” said Ken Stepherson, the general manager of facility services.
He also added, “there is no way to keep things clear all the time during a storm,” specifically a storm like the one we had last week.

Asking six people to clear an entire campus is a tall task, especially when we have lake effect snow. They would basically have to work 48 hours straight to keep things perfectly clean, which calls into serious question some of Mercyhurst’s policies.

If Mercyhurst insists on refusing to call a snow day, they need to make it safe for us to get to class or rethink some of their policies.

Don’t pride yourself on never closing the gates when the road to get through them is unnavigable.