By Leeza Earl
For many decades, the iconic leaning tree outside of Maher Hall has been captured in many photos and has given USD students fond memories of their time spent at USD. On Friday, Jan. 10 the Office of Public Affairs informed students in a campus-wide email of the immediate removal of the diseased tree due to the high risk of it falling.
“I was surprised when the email was sent during winter break,” senior Ava Izdepski said. “The fact that it was done so soon and no last goodbyes were able to be given I think hurt the USD community, especially the graduating seniors who planned to take photos with the leaning tree on graduation day.”
USD facilities took several measures to save the leaning tree. They tried bringing licensed arborists to deep fertilize the tree to no avail. Kimberly Carnot, the facilities management director at Facilities Services and Planning explained that this type of tree tends to lean based on the winds.
Facilities Management believes that this was a result of extensive root damage that was found once they felled the trees.
The tree was removed on Tuesday Jan. 14 by USD facilities and was replaced with new grass but no new leaning tree.
“They left nothing,” junior Danielle DiVittorio said. “Everything was removed, not even the stump was left for memories. They took a part of the USD community that we can never get back.”
While Facilities are still determining their next steps, they are considering the best options for the campus’ safety.
“We are still weighing options in light of some planned infrastructure and other campus projects,” Carnot said. “In the meantime, we are looking to repurpose the felled trees and have provided clippings to Biology in an attempt to see if the trees can be regrown.”
Although the removal of the tree was done out of concern for the safety of the USD community, many students wish they could have that one last moment and photos with the leaning tree.
“When I got the email I was in Italy,” sophomore Catie Chipman said. “I was shocked that it was being done so fast and wished they would have done more to save it. I hope that the wood for the tree is being used for good use or even maybe giving a piece of the tree to all the graduating seniors.”
The leaning tree being removed was very tragic to the USD community, it made some students recall their first leaning tree memories. Freshman Holly Fuhrer recalled seeing the tree on her first day at USD’s campus.
“The leaning tree was the first thing my mother and I noticed when we went on a campus tour of USD,” Fuhrer said. “The tree wasn’t the only reason I decided to come to USD, but I will say the tree set USD on a higher scale than any other universities.”
The removal of the leaning tree was a disappointment to the USD community; however, Facilities Management is working to find a safer way to give USD a unique substitute for the curve on campus.
Maher tree: timber!
By Leeza Earl