Extreme Weather Hindered MLK Weekend Winter Storm Clean Up

Sean Newhouse 
News Editor

This story was originally posted on Feb. 11. 

On Saturday, Jan. 19, an inch of snow fell on the University of Dayton. For the remainder of the weekend (Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend), students experienced snow-covered streets and icy sidewalks on campus that persisted past the winter storm.

Some student residents accused the university of failing to properly handle campus’ winter conditions.

Senior chemical engineering major Nick Wright tweeted, “It looks like UD took the ‘change the locks on St. Patrick’s Day’ money from the ‘plow the streets and salt the sidewalks’ budget.’” His tweet received more than 200 “hearts” on Twitter.

(The university announced students are not allowed to return to their campus residence from spring break until 3 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day.)

According to facilities, the persistent snowy and icy conditions on campus MLK Day weekend were due to other priorities the city of Dayton handles during winter storms and conditions that limited salt’s effectiveness.

The city of Dayton, not the university, is responsible for snow removal for all streets in the student neighborhood. Residential streets are the last priority for the city during winter storms.

The university is responsible for clearing campus sidewalks and parking lots; students are expected to shovel walkways to their houses. While all students living in university-owned houses were supposed to be provided with shovels, multiple students (including Arts & Entertainment editor Chey Ward and online editor Kaitlin Gawkins) told Flyer News their houses did not come with shovels.

Students who were not given a shovel can call facilities at 937-229-3753 for a free one from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

According to Rick Krysiak, vice president for facilities management and planning, “Facilities staff worked all day Saturday (Jan. 19), until midnight, and from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 20)” clearing snow and salting sidewalks on campus. Brian Coulter, the executive director for grounds maintenance, said facilities staff also worked on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Krysiak said facilities’ effectiveness was limited because of “previous automobile traffic, the temperature and wind that limited the effectiveness of salt.”

Also, the university prioritizes which areas of campus are cleaned first.

“Facilities staff clears snow and ice first from major university roadways like University Circle, Zehler Avenue and Founders Lane; entrances to buildings and sloped areas, and works from there,” Coulter said.

As temperatures precipitously drop, wintery conditions will likely continue to be a problem faced by both facilities staff and students.