The torrential downpours of the past 10 days have raised a number of campus safety issues. While jumping across puddles that seem to take up the entire walkway or sliding down a wet hill may be fun for some, it should not be a necessary means to get to class.
Although rain is much more infrequent on campus than in other parts of the country, Mills College Facilities should consider looking at drainage issues so that our sidewalks don’t become small lakes when it does rain.
But the rain also highlights problems with campus safety and accessibility which already exist. Walkways where large puddles collect are often cracked and bumpy to begin with, and the hills that became a virtual water slide during a storm are often rather steep to walk on regardless of the weather.
A handrail for stability up the Mary Morse hill would be prudent, as would better lighting at night. Several stairways can also use maintenance, including the stairs leading up to Ege Hall – the concrete stairs have wooden boards that are coming loose from the stairs. A student injured herself on a staircase in Ethel Moore last semester and the resulting hole in the staircase has not yet been fixed.
We would hope administrators consider which improvements to make first depending on their safety impacts. A portion of the sidewalk leading to the side entrance of the Prospect Hill apartments was recently renovated, and while it is now aesthetically prettier, it is not obvious why that was a priority.
For many students, falling and the potential to injure oneself on the commute to class has become a constant annoyance.
Walking around campus should not be a safety hazard – no one should risk tripping or stepping nearly ankle-deep in water to get around. Before Mills renovates parts of campus that don’t harm students’ well-being, the College should renovate the parts of campus that affect students the most.