Discussing student safety and accessibility on campus.
Mt. A student Maddie Chiasson recently spoke out publicly about breaking her ankle on campus in the winter of 2019. Chiasson made an Instagram story on January 26 about the inadequate conditions on campus because of the weather, which received numerous responses. Chiasson was concerned about the safety of others and wanted to do her best to prevent another accident from happening.
About three years ago, Chiasson fell outside of Avard Dixon because campus was not salted. She claims that a professor helped her after the accident and then proceeded to get cat litter from their office to put outside of the building in place of salt. “I ended up having to get surgery,” Chiasson said. Due to the recovery period, Chiasson “missed a lot of class, and […] ended up failing a lot of [their] classes as a result of [their] injury.” Chiasson is currently in her fourth year majoring in psychology, but due to her injury, she has to take another semester at Mt. A, which is “more money that [she doesn’t] have.”
Despite filing an incident report, Chiasson has received no compensation or apology from the University. Three years later, Chiasson claims that The Argosy is the first to contact them about this incident.
Chiasson explains that they want to take legal action, but that it would require a lot of time and resources that they currently don’t have. When seeking out a lawyer, the student says that they feel as though no one wants to take on the case. However, she reports that she is “aware that this has happened to other people at Mt. A, and they are taking legal action.”
Last year, Chiasson contacted Facilities Management about the conditions of the sidewalk outside of the Purdy Crawford building, but they replied that they were unable to salt it because it is technically the responsibility of the town of Sackville. When Chiasson reached out to the MASU, they communicated that they would forward their concern to the town of Sackville, but in over a year, she has received no response.
The MASU did not respond when asked to make a comment about addressing inaccessibility on campus, although they recently made a post on Instagram about walking safely in icy conditions. Chiasson commented that greater preventative measures should be taken beyond a precautionary post.
The director of facilities management, Kris Kierstead, says that “the safety of the University community is the top priority at Mt. A.” Kierstead continues by saying that the employees “work early in the morning and late at night to keep campus clear of snow and ice.”
“Even after main entrances, walkways, stairways, and parking lots are cleared and salted, drifting snow, and changing conditions can quickly cause build up and can hide ice from view,” Kierstead explains. Kierstead reminds students to regularly check their emails about weather conditions and the conditions of various parking lots on campus.
Chiasson said that the conditions on campus, especially in the wintertime, are increasingly inaccessible to people with disabilities.
Some students feel as though campus is greatly inaccessible, even during seasons other than winter. Another student who wishes to remain anonymous is concerned about the fact that “Flemington does not have an elevator, despite it having four floors.” Other buildings such as Hart Hall and Avard Dixon do not have elevators as well.
Chiasson concluded that they “just want the University to be more concerned about the safety of people.”
To report snowy or icy conditions on campus, Kierstead informs that students and staff can email [email protected].