Spring has Sprung but Snow Costs Linger

Snow at MonmouthThe University experienced a dramatic amount of snowfall this semester, leading to the quick depletion of the snow removal budget and numerous school closures. Patricia Swannack, Vice President of Administrative Services, said this year’s total snowfall has been much higher than it has been in recent years. Because of the increased amount of snow, Facilities Management has exceeded their snow removal budget line and has had to transfer monies from other budget lines to compensate.

According to Swannack, the snow removal budget line is normally between $35,000 to $40,000, but so far this semester, about $130,000 was spent. University groundskeepers and other employees have the primary responsibility of plowing and salting the parking lots, Swannack said. However, sometimes the task becomes too great for the University grounds crew.

According to a representative from J.F. Kiely, a construction company in Long Branch, NJ, the University has had a contract with them for two years to assist in snow removal exclusively. The company assists the University groundskeepers when they are overwhelmed with snow removal. The contract with the University states that J.F. Kiely must immediately respond to snow removal (when needed) while on call. J.F. Kiely crew members provide their own equipment to assist with snow removal. The University pays the construction company based on the number of workers needed and the type of equipment they use, said Swannack.

“The contract includes no precise cost; it depends on how many people are assigned to plow and for how long. For example, if we receive two inches of snow the cost is minimal. If we receive 20 inches of snow, the cost can easily run up to $10,000.” snow-removal”If we receive seven to eight inches of snow or more, or if the snow is very heavy, our equipment is limited and not capable of plowing all the parking lots within a short period of time,” said Swannack. “Snow cannot always simply be plowed into a mound because it reduces the number of parking spaces we have. Sometimes, it has to be physically moved by putting the snow into a truck bed and dumping it on an athletic field.”

Although the University prides itself on its grounds keeping, when it comes to snow removal, safety is a top priority. “We do our best to create a safe environment where people can travel throughout the campus. Snow and ice removal is never perfect, but our employees work tirelessly to do the best they can to make the campus as safe as possible,” said Swannack.

Thomas Pearson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said that there are many snow-related factors that contribute to the closing of the University. If there are four or more inches of snow on the ground, low temperatures and poor road conditions, he consults Swannack, other board members and the local police to make a decision as to whether or not to open the University, with the safety of students as the primary concern.

“I believe in the value of running classes,” said Pearson. “It is more enthralling to see students performing in class.”

The University must adhere to federal guidelines that require classes to meet for at least 14 weeks, or 2200 minutes of instruction per semester. If the University does not comply with these regulations, the government can hold sanctions against the University, including the pulling of federal aid, according to the Provost.

Although Pearson’s rule of thumb is to keep the University open, he understands there are times when it simply isn’t in anyone’s best interest to open the school. Thanks to advances in technology, students are able to receive instruction while away from the classroom.

“Professors have found more creative ways to instruct their classes by using things like E-Campus and Powerpoint. These advancements have offered professors great flexibilities to conduct their classes,” said Pearson.

While Facilities Management has placed a great emphasis on removing snow from roadways and walkways to ensure students are able to attend classes safely, the salt used to aid snow removal has caused severe corrosion to the staircases on the residential side of campus.

Ethan Gazda, a freshman business major who has to walk by the corroded staircases and experiences this daily. “In the past the stairs used to be partially blocked off, but now they are totally blockaded, causing an inconvenience when you have to walk to and from class,” he said.

Swannack said that stairs on the residential side have been corroding for years and Facilities Management has been doing its best to patch them up. Although salt is corrosive, other ice melting materials have been used and have not had the same effect that salt has.

Moving forward, Swannack said that she hopes to correct deteriorating conditions to infrastructure around campus. Facilities Management has planned for this spring, or as soon as the weather warms up and remains warm. Facilities Management is also exploring finishes that will not cause staircases and roadways to deteriorate under extreme temperature changes.


The Best Places at Monmouth to Rest your Hiney

Walking into a restroom can sometimes be a risky gamble. You can either have a pleasant experience fully equipped with an attendant, or smell the foul odors courtesy of the person before you and the poor ventilation can knock you 10 steps back before you brace yourself and force you to hold your breath for 30 seconds.

Restrooms are traditionally a place to privately take care of personal business, however, in college there’s more to it than that. They serve as a temporary escape, or a 10 minute vacation, without the sandy beaches. We go to restrooms to “tweet,” gossip about that cute boy or girl in class and use the mirror to make sure we look as good as we did when we left for school in the morning and don’t forget those bathroom “selfies.”

Because the restroom is such an important place and plays a colossal role of our daily lives, I have decided to outline the University’s premier restrooms and the ones you should avoid at all costs. This article exclusively considers publicly accessible restrooms located in academic buildings, the Dining Hall and the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. After visiting the restrooms on the academic side of campus I didn’t have the stomach to research the restrooms in all of the dorms and suites.


5. Howard Hall – First Floor
Right outside of the 24-hour lab in Howard Hall are what feels like the smallest restrooms on campus. The single-person lavatories are so tiny inside that it is almost impossible to move without slamming into a wall. It makes even the most basic functions of a bathroom, like washing your hands or flushing, nearly impossible. These bathrooms lack the space that it needs to be considered a luxurious bathroom. Moreover, the vestibule that serves as a waiting area is constantly crowded with people anxiously waiting their turn to enter the jail-cell type restroom that it discourages students from attempting to wait in line. This restroom does serve its purpose for those students who need to take a quick leak while up all night studying or finishing their term papers.

4. Student Center – Third Floor
Although it is a cozy and decently sized restroom on the upper level of the Student Center, its downfall is that it’s the only one up there. The third floor of the Student Center is home to most of the club offices, as well as the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services. With so many offices and people who will be potentially fighting over toilet time, I find it strikingly odd that there is only one single-person restroom on that floor for both men and women. The poor ventilation does not help the cause either, because once there’s a lingering smell in these bathrooms don’t count on it going anywhere fast.

3. Edison Hall – Second Floor
When I walked into both the men’s and women’s restrooms, I was suddenly bombarded with childhood memories of my elementary school and the little boy’s room there. The paint colors used in my elementary school restrooms significantly resemble the paint used to color the stalls of the restrooms in Edison Hall. Both the women’s and men’s room are outlined with blue tile, which leads me to believe that they were both used as men’s rooms at one point. The women’s room did have a few amenities that were found nowhere else on campus: a TV tray table in case you want to cram for a test before class, and a wicker shelf that housed over 20 rolls of toilet paper and plenty of liquid soap. If you’re one of those people who constantly worries if there is enough toilet paper for you, this might be your go-to bathroom, although to me it reminds me of a facilities management storage closet with a complimentary bathroom.

2. Rechinitz Hall
If you have ever been in the new art building, you may have noticed that the floor plan is hard to navigate, which has a negative impact on the placement of the restrooms on the list. Trying to locate the bathrooms in Rechnitz Hall makes you feel like a mouse in a maze trying to get to the cheese; having to go upstairs, then downstairs, then through the Art Gallery, (if it is unlocked), then through a classroom mid-lecture and finally down a hallway. It is a complete burden, especially while doing the pee-pee dance the whole time. I would recommend avoiding the building as a whole, even if you need to use the restroom during class in Rechnitz Hall. It’s easier to just walk to Plangere or the Student Center than finding your way around the building, which is just as easy to navigate as a Jackson Pollock painting.

1. Magil Commons – Dining Hall
This is a no brainer. Hundreds, maybe thousands of students utilize the Dining Hall everyday, and a good majority of them use the bathroom either before or after their meal. There just isn’t enough manpower from facilities management or ARAMARK to keep it clean. Elizabeth Bennett, a senior, expressed her dissatisfaction with the restrooms by saying, “I just feel like they never are clean or they just seem like they’re [dirty] because they are so old and ugly.” If privacy is your thing, these restrooms are not for you. With so many people coming in and out, it’s not exactly discreet. Remember, what goes in, must come out and these restrooms look like yesterday’s dinner.


5. So-Sweet-A-Cat Field
Although the “So-Sweet-A-Catbox,” the field hockey’s playing field, possesses every quality of a horrible restroom, it narrowly makes it to the best list. The restroom that undoubtedly bears a resemblance to an outhouse has a capacity of one at a time, and gets dirty really easily. But putting all the negatives aside, it is a score. If you are part of a team that practices there, field hockey namely, I’m sure you hold this bathroom in high regard. Prior to building of the lavatory on the field, players coaches and spectators of games had to use Port-A-Pottys, which are infinitely worse than the current facility. This restroom makes the list because if you are in the area and need to “go,” it is the only place to do so in what feels like miles.

4. Guggenheim Library – Second & Third Floors
Countless late night study sessions equate to plenty of coffee; which ultimately means more bonding time with the bathroom. The Guggenheim Library has a bathroom on each of its levels, but the second and third floors seemed to be the roomiest. The best thing about the library is that you never have to worry about being interrupted due to the quiet policies that are always enforced, and there is no shortage of reading material to bring into the stalls with you. If you ever need a break from studying, especially with midterms approaching, the Guggenheim is your best bet.

3. Edison Hall – First Floor
What a difference a floor makes. If you’re ever in Edison Hall and need to use the bathroom it pays to take the trip to the first floor restrooms. The new state-of-the-art restrooms took me by surprise. With stainless steel stalls and automatic sinks and toilets, it makes for a relaxing environment. Admittedly, the women’s room is more impressive because it has eight stalls and is larger than the men’s room, however both of these restrooms make for great environments for those bathroom “selfies.” I’m sure Thomas Edison would be honored to take a number two here.

2. Wilson Hall – Basement
You would think that the older the building is, the more appalling the condition of the bathrooms are, right? Nope. Wilson Hall is home to easily the most elegant bathrooms I have ever seen; it is the ‘Royal Flush!’ They all emit feelings of peace and tranquility, but the ones in the basement appear like restrooms you would find in a high budget film from the 1980’s… “Annie” perhaps?
“The bathrooms in Wilson Hall’s basement … Look straight out of Harry Potter,” said senior Zachary Werkmeister. He continued, “I have to go at night though so no babes see me.”

1. Magil Commons – Club Room
After four years it is time to reveal Monmouth’s best kept secret. Everyone uses the restrooms in the Dining Hall, but has anyone ever thought to go outside, down the ramp and use the restroom in the building adjacent to the Dining Hall? If you really needed to, you could find me in there twice a day, because it is hands down, my favorite place on campus to be. It is a gem because not too many people know about it. The Magill Commons Club Rooms are usually empty if there is not a conference or event going on, so it’s a safe bet that nobody will interrupt you. Occasionally, I play music loudly from my phone, or enjoy the silence, either way I can guarantee the restroom in Magil Commons is clean, well stocked and a perfect place to spend your free time, discreetly.

Overall, I am content with the fact that all of our buildings have a place where we are able to do what we have to do. While it is evident that some buildings are a tad worse than others, I have a complaint that extends to each and every bathroom; please, raise the toilet paper holders. I either hurt my hand reaching to get toilet paper, or constantly rip the paper, which annoys me to no end. If the toilet paper holders are more easily accessible, I will be happy with every restroom, no matter what it looks like. Hopefully this list steers you clear of those low-end lavatories, and gives you a new place to flush your troubles, and other waste, away.