Newly erected fence causes confusion

Ellen McDonald Volunteer Writer [email protected]

For anyone who lived in Olive Hall or the surrounding resident halls, the preferred path to the residents halls was a dirt path that ran alongside The Wesley Foundation. For weeks students took this path over the ramp or the stairs adjacent to the Student Recreation Center.

This was until caution tape was placed to block off the path. This did not stop students from utilizing the path however. Every morning, residents awoke to new caution tape put up and every night it was knocked down and residents were once again taking the path. For awhile, it seemed like a constant battle between residents and The Wesley Foundation.

One morning, however, students awoke to a new fence being built. The intent seemed to be to keep students off The Wesley Foundation’s property; but, it was much more heartfelt.

For a few weeks, residents have not known why the fence was constructed, but they did know that they did not like it. Like many, resident Ariana Valverde preferred the path over the stairs or the ramp simply due to the extra time it saved her.

“It saved me time, especially for my 9 a.m. and it was faster,” Valverde said.

Like most college students, she recognizes that any extra time, even seconds, can save her from being late to class.

Other residents don’t view the fence as an inconvenience.

“I don’t really mind it,” said resident Grayson Watson. “I’ll just walk around it. I like it more than the caution tape,” said Watson.

Reverend Linda Williams, pastor for the campus Wesley Foundation explained that the new fence “was put up out of love and to keep our students safe.”

Student safety is a top priority for Williams and when she would see students slipping or tripping over rocks she knew that something had to be done to protect UNA’s students. Williams explained that the fence was not done overnight. The Wesley Foundation tried to think of the best solution for months, which just happened to be a fence.

The reason behind the blockade was not out of spite, “It was done out of total concern for the safety. It was not safe.”

[The other issue with that area is the lack of visibility. The dirt path might have been safer if there had been a light to illuminate it.

“[The Wesley Foundation] is paying out of pocket for a utility pole and security light on their property to keep the walkway safe and the area around the facility safe,” Williams said.

Now that a physical blockage,exists students are left with no choice but to climb a small, steep hill and take the ramp or the stairs. They are still curious as to why it had to lead to this.

“The hill is so steep right there, its honestly safer to have just gone the original way,” Valverde said. “Its really uncomfortable to go up that hill, especially with a backpack.”

When asked if there is a solution for this issue, Valverde explained that maybe they can put some steps along that hill. They cannot make it flat, but maybe they can make stairs.

Just like the dirt path, students slip and fall on the small incline most take to get to the stairs or the ramp next to the Student Recreation Center. The incline is so steep that students who have chosen to take it have worn footholds into the hill. So in that sense, students have made their own staircase, but it still is not entirely safe.