Middle Path is supposed to be a place of connection, but that’s not possible if no one can use it.
As students, faculty and other members of the community filed out of Gund Gallery’s Community Foundation Theater Monday night, they faced a Middle Path completely covered in slick ice. Students stayed behind to help older audience members cautiously make it across. Conversations stopped as walkers looked at their feet, trying not to wipe out. Students took the long way around, avoiding the central artery of campus at all costs. If the administrators handed out ice skates, maybe we would be getting somewhere.
And yet, it feels as though we’ve been here before. Not two months ago, we published a staff editorial entitled “Middle Path can’t hold its ground,” calling for the College to pave Middle Path for improved accessibility. Now, just three issues later, we find ourselves facing the same glaring problems. We’ve talked about the rain of early winter and the puddles that form under our feet, but now we urge the College to look toward Exhibit B: the thick layer of ice that coats the path as we weather a polar vortex.
In 2016, the College completed an extensive resurfacing of Middle Path, ostensibly to make it more accessible. But after all that labor and expense, why does the path freeze before the ground does? Why is it safer to stay off the path and walk in the snow and grass beside it? Why is Middle Path failing to serve its most crucial function?
Forget the looks, and forget the practicality. Life in Gambier runs through Middle Path. There are students on campus right now who just want to get to class without fearing injury. There are Gambier residents just trying to get around the village they call home. Something has to be done about Middle Path. We don’t care if it’s concrete, asphalt or dirt — we just want something that works.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Cameron Messinides ’19 and Devon Musgrave-Johnson ’19, managing editor Grant Miner ’19 and executive director Matt Mandel ’19. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.