Watch your step

Tony Gorder

Tony Gorder

Weather conditions proved treacherous on Feb. 26, with students and faculty alike slipping and some even sustaining serious injuries.

Mike Reger, vice president for administration, reported about a dozen injuries from last week’s snowfall at a Students’ Association meeting on March 2.

The South Dakota State University Police Department responded to six personal injuries on Feb. 26, though those may or may not have been related to the ice. Meanwhile, five people were transported via ambulance from SDSU to Brookings Heath System between 8:28 a.m. and 9:47 a.m. on Feb. 26, according to Gordon Dekkenga, director of ambulance services.

Bethany Sturdevant, an undeclared sophomore from Brookings, fell due to the icy conditions.

“My friend and I were walking to class, and as I slipped, I started to grab my friend and almost made her fall,” said Sturdevant. “We all laughed about it then, but Friday I woke up and my whole body hurt.”

Nicole Nordquist, a sophomore math major from Canby, Minn., also slipped on the ice and thought SDSU should have called off classes.

“I was on my way to the Performing Arts Center when I slipped. I put my arms behind me, and they slipped on the ice too,” said Nordquist. “My head snapped back on the sidewalk so hard that my hat flew off. I also lost my cell phone, but someone picked it up later.”

At least one professor was injured from the ice on campus.

Fathi Halaweish, a chemistry professor, was walking on the sidewalk adjacent to intramural building leading from Agricultural Hall to the Chemistry Department.

“It occurred at 8:30 a.m.,” said Halaweish. “I was walking cautiously to avoid a slip on a sloped area of the sidewalk, but I slipped forwards on my right wrist.”

Halaweish broke his radius bone near his wrist.

“I needed surgery to fix it. I am supposed to take off two weeks from work,” he said. “It seems like there was no effort done at that time to clear the snow or spread sand to make sure the sidewalks were safe. I was caught off guard because the snow made it difficult to see the icy spots on the sidewalk.”

Bob Otterson, executive assistant to the president, said, “It’s that unfortunate combination of the thawing and freezing cycle followed by snow that started at 6 a.m. The university makes the call on snow removal at 4 a.m., and at 4 a.m., there was no snow.”

“The snow had melted, but when it snowed [again], it created ice, and with the snow on top, you couldn’t see [the ice],” said Reger.

It was all this that led to what Otteson called the “unfortunate events.”

Otterson said plows and sand trucks starting cleaning sidewalks when SDSU employees began arriving on campus.

“We did the best we could,” said Dean Kattelmann, assistant vice president for facilities and services. “We had people out; we were out pushing snow but there was no way we could get ahead.

The only way that SDSU could have worked faster and prevented this from happening, said Kattelmann, is if SDSU hired more people and bought more equipment, something that is not financially possible at this time.

“Do we feel bad about the people who fell?” said Kattelmann. “Absolutely.”

#1.881842:2972846391.jpg:Ice.CMYK.ES.jpg:Adam Lepp, a senior computer science major, jumps over an icy puddle March 3 outside The Union.:Ethan Swanson