FIELDS OF GLEAM

A summary of views, commentary and sometimes comedy.

Well, several hundred feet of snow have fallen, several hundred more are on their way, and the daily walk to the yard has become the daily trudge. Now, it's not that slogging through inches of slush while dodging falling icicles isn't my idea of fun. It is. In fact, it's right up there with Tibetan yak racing and funnelling Ole Grand-Dad brand 140 proof whiskey. However, the number of miserable-looking people I've seen slipping and sliding on their way along the streets leads me to ask that question which I'm sure is on the minds of thousands of fellow Cantabrigians: why is Harvard incapable of clearing the sidewalks?

As soon as the first sign of a snowfall becomes apparent those cute little Bobcats appear, and clear out House courtyards in a jiffy. But once you step outside the gate which leads to the real world, forget it. Sidewalks are swimming pools of slush, or skating rinks, depending on the temperature. The smooth red bricks which look so pretty in the summer are treacherously smooth, and the unevenness of many sidewalks only adds to the problem. Anyone who has tried to negotiate these god-forsaken streets knows what I'm talking about.

It's understandable that in the first few days after a major snowfall the sidewalks will be slippery, as men and machines struggle to simply remove the masses of snow. But Harvard's sidewalks, in my two years of experience, are simply never cleared. I almost killed myself on Mt. Auburn street last year when the entire sidewalk was covered in a slippery, uneven coating of ice. The last snowfall had been several weeks previous and apparently no attempt had been made to clear or even salt the sidewalks in the general vicinity of the river houses. Under these conditions, it's survival of the fittest.

Something needs to be done. Harvard could simply spend more money, but since that's about as likely as Tibetan Yak-racing becoming an Olympic sport, we obviously need another source of labor. My suggestion is to take all students ad-boarded for disciplinary offenses, chain them together and let them shovel. The Harvard Civil Liberties Union might protest, but by the time they get an injunction, it'll be spring.