Landscaping to lose almost half of vehicles


Molly Madeleine Kruse

The University of Oklahoma landscaping department will give up around 25 of its vehicles due to a new budget initiative by OU president James Gallogly. 

Getting rid of extra vehicles on campus could improve parking problems and be better for the environment, said Gallogly in response to a student’s question at a town hall event on Sept. 4 at the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

He also pointed out that some campus vehicles get used much more often than others, at a state of the university address on Aug. 27 in Catlett Music Center.

“Let’s share,” said Gallogly, talking about the campus vehicles. “Let’s be smart on how we do that. We don’t need that many vehicles, do we?”

Some landscapers say losing the vehicles, including around half of the Kubota utility vehicles, could impact how they do their jobs. Landscapers are told to stay inside their vehicles or go back to the landscaping building when it rains or snows to keep warm—they are not supposed to enter other campus buildings, said Angel Mejia, who has worked in landscaping at OU for 27 years.

“We’re out there shoveling snow off the entryways … and you get cold,” said Mejia. “It’s nice to have a vehicle with a heater, and you can go in there and warm up your hands.”

Landscapers will probably adapt to the change by sharing vehicles. This means landscapers will have to work together more to take care of larger areas, said Tammie Mitchell, an OU landscaping specialist.