COLIN LIKAS | Editor-In-Chief
In the Jan. 22 issue of The Butler Collegian, the staff editorial “Butler’s reaction to winter weather must improve” ran to express the staff’s majority opinion on the university’s handling of winter weather on campus.
We occasionally receive disapproving feedback regarding pieces published in The Collegian. This particular editorial, however, garnered a noticeable amount of attention in the week following its publication.
Four different individuals have sent emails or comments to The Collegian to express disagreement with the editorial.
My point with this column is not to lash out at those who have commented. On the contrary, we appreciate Butler community members reading what we write and providing feedback to potentially spark conversation about issues on campus.
I do feel it is appropriate to better explain the editorial’s intent.
A common theme in the feedback received was that the editorial showed a lack of appreciation for Butler’s grounds crew, and that it was used to speak negatively of the work it has done this winter.
As Director of Maintenance Services Jerry Carlson said, the groundskeeping snow-removal staff consists of 11 individuals.
Even with the help of other Butler staff at times, which was noted in one letter to the editor published in last week’s issue, it would be hard to expect that size group to quickly clear all the snow this winter has brought.
A majority of Collegian staff felt, however, that better planning could have been done to help the grounds crew handle the snow and ice.
Collegian staff members observed roads, sidewalks and parking lots that were still buried by snow and covered in ice many days after the first big snowfall of 2014—the “polar vortex”—had left Indianapolis.
With better planning and assessment by everyone at Butler involved in decisions related to clearing snow and ice, this may have been different.
It may be fair to say Butler’s groundskeepers kept the roads and sidewalks on campus safer than those in the surrounding Indianapolis area were.
But a majority of The Collegian staff still felt this was enough of a concern to write an editorial about it.
It should be noted there was an error in the editorial. The Butler student who fell on a campus sidewalk did not do so because of snow and ice, but because she was tripped by a raised sidewalk square while rollerblading.
The Collegian regrets this error, and a correction can be seen in this week’s issue.
Perhaps the editorial could have been written differently to more clearly get across the staff’s viewpoint.
We do feel it was appropriate to write an editorial showing concern for Butler’s reaction as a whole to the snowfall on campus. The editorial was not meant to slight those working hardest on this issue.
Feedback The Collegian receives on editorials and stories is beneficial to both the newspaper and the university. It leads to conversation about important topics, and as such, letters from students, faculty and staff are always welcome.
They not only allow reader reaction but also help Collegian staff improve in writing and reporting.
I would like to thank those who do read The Collegian for doing so, and I’d like to thank those who took the time to write letters to the editor about this issue and others previously.