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Between The Lines: Ohio University’s bricks make for slippery slide to classes, should be cleared as soon as it snows

One Post staffer recalls when she bruised her tailbone last winter after a tumble on College Green’s icy bricks.

I could feel the ice split my hand. It was a futile attempt at stopping the inevitable — my flailing legs were useless. My other hand burned from the freshly brewed coffee now splashed across the snow on Ohio University’s College Green.

I wiped out, and it hurt.  

Athens law requires snow to be cleared from sidewalks “in the first four hours after daylight following or during a fall of snow.” What that translates to: You need to pull out a shovel, sand or scraper and get to work. I can confirm that some of my North Congress Street neighbors haven’t followed that this winter.

A local judge, however, ruled that OU does not have an obligation to remove snow or ice.

I was on my way to a morning class last Spring Semester, cutting across College Green to get to Gordy Hall. Not even three steps inside the Alumni Gateway, and I was down, falling victim to the icy bricks.

Immediately, surrounding students offered assistance while I unsuccessfully tried to get back on my feet. (Pro tip: Crawl to the snow. There’s much more traction.) I declined their help and called my sleeping boyfriend, hoping he could help me hobble back to our Court Street apartment.

My vision faded in and out while I slowly waddled across the bricks once again. When I made it to the bed, a quick collapse backward made it evident my tailbone bore the brunt of the fall.

Explaining the tumble to the nurse at O’Bleness Hospital was one of my more embarrassing moments, but bending over to have a nurse stick a needle full of pain medicine into my backend, yeah, that was the pinnacle of embarrassment.

After numerous X-rays, plenty of tears and a diagnosis of a bruised tailbone, I was back to campus with a newfound fear of Athens’ winter.

I’m a child of Massachusetts, meaning I am no stranger to tough winters. The difference, though, is that the Bay State seems to be prepared for the weather.

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Yes, Athens started the winter off with 2,000 tons of road salt. But for students sliding to class, that is not enough.

This winter, I have invested in better boots (thanks, Mom) and more time walking between classes. I have been tumble free in 2016, but the fear of a repeat of last winter’s fall is present every time I walk across OU’s campus.

Olivia Hitchcock is a senior studying journalism and copy chief of The Post. Have you had a similar slip in Athens? Email her at or tweet her @ohitchcock. 

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