Assaulting the ice

Walking around campus shouldn’t be too much trouble today. The sidewalks are mostly clear now. Friday was a different story.

Ice and, at best, half-frozen slush covered most of the sidewalks around Kent State late last week. Trying to go even the shortest distance outside proved to be a challenge of balance, footing and momentum. Thankfully, by the afternoon, the ice began melting.

But then it froze again as the temperature fell at night.

Now, this isn’t an unusual occurrence. This is Ohio in February. Everyone remembers the snowfall from last year during this month. February is not known for being particularly pedestrian-friendly. We’re used to it.

However, is asking for ice-free sidewalks too much to ask?

The conditions on Friday worry us. The sidewalks weren’t safe for students walking across them. Sure, a few bumps, bruises and scrapes aren’t breaking news, but more serious injuries can happen, especially on an icy sidewalk on a hill.

Don’t forget about students trying to get around campus on crutches or in wheelchairs. The ice and slush make it much more difficult and dangerous for anyone who has an injury or disability. They can either hurt themselves more or find themselves stranded without anyone to help.

Several nearby school systems canceled school Friday. While there was no need to go so far as to cancel classes that day, it does help illustrate how seriously the school systems took the weather. Obviously, Kent State takes the weather seriously, but something must be done to make walking on campus in the winter safer.

This is not a slight or criticism of the grounds crew. They work hard. They’re out in the cold and wind in the early morning, salting and shoveling as the weather demands. Few people probably thank them. They’re doing their best.

Maybe the problem is there aren’t enough of them doing the work. Perhaps the university should shift some more money to that part of the budget, even just for seasonal work.

Winter happens every year. Anyone who has even just visited this part of Ohio during the season knows what a pain and potential hazard it can be. While it’s somewhat warmer now, and the ice is mostly gone, winter is still here for several more weeks.

The temperature will drop again. More snow will fall. More ice will form. We hope we don’t see another day like Friday, but knowing Ohio’s weather, our wish isn’t likely. This a foreseeable weather condition that happens every year. It’s the same problem every year.

So please, university higher-ups, put some more money in the grounds crew budget. Unless, of course, you want to set up heated sidewalks for the winter. Either way works, but the grounds crew doesn’t sound as expensive.

The above editorial is a consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.