October 24, 2020

Commencement, sports get the big lead boot

Lions’ Stadium is closed because the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) found lead in the turf. According to Matthew Golden, executive director of Public Affairs for the College, the test results won’t arrive until May, so the College is keeping the field closed until at least then as a precaution.

For students, that translates to no more athletic events in the stadium for the rest of the semester. It very likely also translates to Commencement 2008 being booted out of Lions’ Stadium.

All indicators currently point to the company that made the turf as the culprit. As things stand now, it looks like the College acted responsibly. The College volunteered to have DHSS test the field, an action other institutions declined to take, according to Golden.

The College sent out a mass e-mail only hours after learning of the lead and shut down the stadium as a preventative measure, even though it doesn’t seem that health of students will be negatively affected.

The College could easily have declined to have the stadium’s field tested, like many other institutions did, only to have the decision spectacularly backfire on us when we found out much later about the lead, after it had already been a problem for some time. The school also could have kept its mouth shut about the incident and made us wait for official test results while keeping the stadium locked.

That school officials did neither of these should make students feel sure that appropriate steps are being taken in a timely manner. Yes, the field being out of commission is a big deal and extremely problematic, especially for sports teams. But it doesn’t appear that the blame rests on the College. If anything, it appears College administrators took all the right steps, and quickly.

Despite this, we’ll probably have to pick up the tab for the mess that is Lions’ Stadium’s lead-laden turf. The company who made the turf and the state seem unlikely to pick up the tab, from what information The Signal has gathered so far regarding the incident.

Rather, the possibility of the College ripping up and replacing the turf for an entire stadium on its own dime seems frighteningly plausible.

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