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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: A failed lesson in leadership

Published: January 28, 2011
Section: Editorials, Top Stories

A student’s negligent and careless driving hospitalized two students last month. We are outraged that this university has had no formal response or statement to the community about what happened and what we can learn from it.

We are not ignorant to believe that accidents do not happen or that they may never happen to us one day. We do not know all the facts behind what happened on Dec. 3, 2010, and we would like to learn them. But more importantly we would like this community to acknowledge that there is a way to prevent future accidents. It requires warning students of the dangers in their lives. Here at Brandeis, we occasionally all need to be reminded that our actions have consequences.

While after other public safety concerns, such as drinking before Pachanga and the flasher in the chapels, the university rightfully saw fit to inform students of the issue at hand. It is inconsistent and unacceptable that they would not do the same after a hit and run that sent two students to the hospital. To pretend that the accident does not warrant a campus-wide statement about the need to drive safely around campus and be aware of all surroundings represents a failure of leadership from this administration.

At the same time, to pretend that the Loop Road that circles Brandeis is safe is similarly wrong. The layout of the Loop Road did not cause this accident, but changes in its design have the potential to increase the safety of pedestrians.

The road is wide and invites speeding, has few warning signs and includes parking spaces that, especially at night, obscure the presence of pedestrians. In winter, patches of the sidewalk are not shoveled, forcing pedestrians into the street. We recommend that the university invest in speed bumps, stop signs and other markers that warn drivers and pedestrians of the dangers of the road.

The alternative choice is to ignore that an accident occurred on the Loop Road. But that alternative just is not acceptable.

This university knows better than to ignore a potentially tragic accident. We hope it will acknowledge the concern and outrage of this editorial board–but more importantly as members of this community who care about one another’s safety.

If we do not learn from the accident last month, a similar accident could happen again. That is a terrifying possibility, and one that should frighten all of us.