Dear Professor Nibert,
Let me introduce myself, my name is Michael Brady and I recently joined Wittenberg University as the Assistant Vice President of the Physical Plant. The maintenance and care of the grounds fall in my purview. I am writing to you in response to your open letter to President Joyner in The Torch dated September 25, 2013.
In your letter you correctly mentioned that the students were not notified of the October 3, 2013 herbicide application. When the notification was sent out, the student lists were not included with the staff and faculty email. This oversight was purely accidental and unintentional. I can assure you that it will not happen again. The required signage by law was used. Ohio requires the herbicide applicator to post a sign stating when the grounds were sprayed, what chemical was used and to keep the sign in place for 24 hours. These signs were in place when I walked through the campus on Friday, October 4, 2013. I assure you there is a lot of thought and planning that goes into the spraying of an herbicide. For example the application date is recorded, along with the wind speed for drift and the relative humidity and temperatures are checked for the drying process. All this information is recorded and placed on file in the Physical Plant office for state inspection.
We do use sustainable practices at Wittenberg University. Every spring most of the grounds are aerated to allow moisture and air to get to the roots and rhizomes, which in turn produces a thicker and healthier grass to reduce weed growth. In the fall most of the grounds are over seeded with a slit seeder which produces the same effect, a thicker fuller grass to reduce weed growth. Wittenberg University, in an effort to be social responsible, has reduced the application of herbicides to twice a year for the last few years. Your letter voiced concern regarding the use of 2,4D. Please rest assured that the herbicide that was applied on October 3, 2013 does not contain 2,4D. We have increased the application of friendly fertilizers that are basically nitrogen products to promote a healthy full turf.
During my interview for this position, Wittenberg‘s commitment to students and mission was very apparent along with creating an environment that is conducive to learning. I believe the Director of the Physical Plant and Grounds superintendent work very hard to enhance the aesthetics of this University. We are always looking for ways to improve our processes in the Physical Plant while keeping in mind our fiscal responsibilities. We appreciate hearing your concerns. I would be glad to meet with you to discuss any suggestions that you believe we can incorporate into our procedures.
Michael J. Brady