Clear those paths!

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

Eau Claire’s first snowfall of the year has finally arrived. With it comes the sign that winter break is only days away from beginning. But as we approach the end of the semester, it’s hard to avoid the not-so-glamorous aspects of the chilly season as well.

The day after the initial snowfall marked the need for shoveling. But as I awoke to the start of another week, I found the sidewalks and road on my block weren’t cleared.

While I’m more than willing to shovel myself, the housing agency I go through is charging me so that others will do it instead. So it’s frustrating to see something I’m paying for out of my own pocket go unnoticed. It makes me wonder whether my money is actually going where it’s supposed to.

But on my way to class, I found that it wasn’t only my housing agency that did a poor job with clearing the way for students. The bridge that connects Water Street to the UW-Eau Claire campus was extremely cramped. It’s already a pretty narrow bridge to start. With all of the snow packed to the sides of the bridge, it became even more cramped for both the people walking to and from classes.
It wasn’t until after I got off of the bridge and onto the actual campus sidewalk that I noticed road salt to melt the ice on the ground.
So what can be done to avoid such difficult walks to class? I think the city and the school should employ somebody to take care of the situation.
With the addition of such workers, the city can ensure that roads and sidewalks will be cleared. When they are in the state that they were earlier this week, it becomes dangerous for students to walk to class. I know I almost slipped face first a few times just on the way to campus. After talking with others in class, my observation was reaffirmed.
This sparks the thought that maybe school should have been cancelled the day after it first snowed to make sure enough of it had melted. I’m not saying cancel it just because it’s a hassle to walk to class in this weather. I’ve heard several of the commuters and even some people that live in the Eau Claire area were unable to make it to class because of bad roads or having their vehicles snowed in.
These two situations alone sound for good reason to cancel school for one day. Also, with the strict three absences rule for most UW-Eau Claire classes, the students that couldn’t make it will be punished accordingly. If they had already used three earlier in the year, this absence could cost them points. Is that really fair?
So when our next big snowfall of the season arrives, I hope that others like my housing agency, the school and the city will think of the students that have to get places. Without cleared sidewalks and roads, the simple jaunt to class is more difficult than one may think.