The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Letter to the Editor: UMW’s handling of recent snow leaves commuters on icy ground

2 min read

Dear Editor,

Last year, I heard complaints from several students concerning the University of Mary Washington’s response to inclement weather. At the time, I excused the University because of the sheer volume of snow dumped on Fredericksburg.

Last night, according to the National Weather Service, Fredericksburg got between 0.07 inches and 0.11inches of precipitation. My wife, who attends UMW, was nervous about the commute from our home in Bowling Green, but I noted that our city-owned streets were salted and safe to drive, so I was sure UMW would have their sidewalks and roads cleared for classes on Wednesday.

Side Note: Bowling Green has one quarter the population of UMW’s student population.

Much to my surprise, I heard reports that the roads entering the parking deck were still frozen and had traces of black ice. I was able to confirm this later when I had to drive into town to run an errand.

I admit that I may not know the subtle authorizations required for upkeep of the roads during inclement weather, but the UMW has some form of responsibility for the overall safety of its students. The University owes it to their students, at a minimum, release a warning that some passages are hazardous and notify teachers of possible commuting students’ delays.

UMW’s transportation website even has a page for “Current Issues” facing the University’s properties. This morning, it noted: “Updates Pending.”

I personally graduated from a large university in North Carolina where any hazards could be viewed via homepage, text alerts, e-mail or through an automated phone system.  Students operated most systems.

UMW being one of the Southeast’s Best Colleges, according to the Princeton Review, should be able to offer some form of warning system, or better utilize the existing one, to help ensure the safety of students who may be focused on starting classes, getting to work, fighting the rush-hour congestion on US-1 and having to beware of black ice or other hazards from an already long commute.

As a husband that pays for his wife to get a quality education, I at least expect the courtesy of knowing the University is making efforts to warn our students of possible dangers.

They should either let us know what they plan to do about inclement weather or what alternate plans students should make. Not being willing to do either one of these shows a disconnect between the administration and their students.

In the future, I sincerely hope the University will do a better job thinking about all their students and will institute budget-neutral procedures (such as electronic notification or web postings) for notifying students of potential danger areas on campus that may or may not be safe for transit.”

Joseph Pack