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Physical Plant Deserves Commendation

I write in response to the column of Stephanie A. Jenrette '97 ["Snowplows Irk East Campus Residents," March 15]. Jenrette's citation of unfortunate, isolated incidents certainly characterize a hobbled, incompetent internal service, encouraging a calculated effort to annoy students at every opportunity. If this were even partially true, one could accept her anecdotes as constructive criticism. In light of the real situation, however, her comments just come across as mean-spirited and uninformed.

While I don't doubt that the work situations caused by the 15 snowstorms this winter may have at times inconvenienced some members of the community, the strides made by Physical Plant in keeping the campus passable are nothing short of heroic. Personally, every morning that I've gotten off at the Kendall Square T-stop, I've found the walk from East Campus to Massachusetts Avenue negotiable and safe.

There are restrictions on where plowed snow can be placed (not in parking areas and certainly not in the Charles River), as well as issues related to equipment maintenance and numerous other concerns, not to mention the fact that snowfall broke all previous records. Against such a backdrop of difficulties, it would be impossible to do a job that pleases everyone, but no one can accuse Physical Plant of not trying.

I would encourage Jenrette to take a good, hard look at what Physical Plant does to keep the Institute running. No internal service is perfect, and I'm sure constructive criticism can lead to improvements in the way students and faculty are served. It's unfortunate that she instead chose cheap shots and unprovoked hostility as the method for airing her concerns.

John R. Squillante

Senior Office Assistant,

Office of the Senior Vice President