A New Challenge

Vice President for University Services Kathleen O’Brien recently sent an e-mail to the University community that was ostensibly an update on the Washington Avenue Bridge situation. However, the last paragraph of the e-mail quietly transformed it from an âÄúupdateâÄù to a âÄúconclusionâÄù with the news that âÄúwe can expect to live with the bridge restrictions for the rest of the school year.âÄù With all the formality of a deferential shrug, the e-mail was ended, and so were hopes for easy transit between the two halves of campus. No debate, no flexibility, just a formal statement consigning students to a Beijing-esque pedestrian commute until next year. To O’Brien, we say this: We are less than satisfied with your e-mail. Think about this from the studentsâÄô perspective. We trust the University administrators to make good use of our tuition dollars to further our education and foster an environment in which we can maintain a relatively stable lifestyle. Uncomfortable overcrowding on the Washington Avenue Bridge has encumbered students with a new and unnecessary challenge that tests patience, adds to stress and makes tardiness difficult to avoid. Although we wonder why this problem was not fixed before it necessitated this desperate response, we recognize that nobody in the University administration has the ability to magic away the laws of physics or principles of engineering. However, that does not mean the student body is without expectations for the University. Administrators: You can make sure that our minimal access to the bridge is absolutely safe, and pledge that you will expand that access, if possible. You ought to consider new alternatives to relieving congestion âÄî perhaps opening a bike lane on the bottom deck. Most importantly, you should ask for studentsâÄô input. We are, after all, a community âÄî and a large one, at that. Although solutions may not seem to be forthcoming, you have thousands of minds at your disposal to help brainstorm. Our University is a marketplace of ideas, and it is a disservice and a disrespect not to hear as many voices as possible on an issue as vast as this one.