In September, 2012, twelve Wittenberg faculty and staff members signed a letter to you requesting that you “ask the Wittenberg Sustainability Task Force to examine the environmental, health and economic implications of the use of herbicides on campus – as well as the potential cost savings that may be achieved by transitioning to organic measures and the appeal that a green, environmentally responsible, herbicide-free campus may have for prospective students.” You never responded, and a chemical herbicide was applied twice that academic year.
On Monday, September 23, the Director of Wittenberg Physical Plant Operations sent an e-mail to faculty and staff stating that the campus again would be sprayed with a weed killing herbicide on Wednesday the 25th. Students, however, were not informed as they have been in the past.
When the decision first was made to use chemical herbicides at Wittenberg in 2004, faculty and staff expressed health and environmental concerns over the use of herbicides, and the administration agreed to notify the campus community when sprayings would occur. However, it was only after some prodding that University administrators agreed to inform students as well. However, no warnings ever have been given to students to avoid contact with the lawn (nor information about the controversial chemical 2,4D) even on the days the herbicide was applied.
This year, students were not notified at all. Moreover, students report they did not see any flags warnings of herbicide use, warning that are required by law.
Would you please explain to the campus community why you chose not to explore organic alternatives, why students were not given any notification of the use of herbicides this year, and why warning flags were not utilized?
Professor of Sociology