Opinion: Residence hall custodians deserve to be treated better

Students living on campus should be significantly more considerate and not leave a mess for others to clean up.


Katie Goodale

Catlett Residence Hall is seen on Jan 16, 2019.

Mariana Garces, Columnist

I was heading to the showers in the hall of my floor in Catlett Hall last week, and I noticed that a custodian was cleaning my showers. As I approached the bathrooms with my towel and shower caddy, the custodian kept a firm look on me I smiled and walked past him in order to go the showers of the hall next to mine.

To my surprise, he stopped me and thanked me. He said that there were two people showering in two of the pod-style bathrooms who completely neglected the bright yellow laminated papers signaling the times that the bathrooms were closed. He told me he had an hour to clean 12 bathrooms and residents who disregard those times get in the way of his schedule.

After that interaction, I began to notice little nuisances that could easily be avoided if people had more respect for custodians, such as leaving trash in hard-to-reach places and shoe prints all over the elevator, including the ceiling.

After my experience with the custodian from my floor, I reached out to others to see if they had similar experiences. Many of the custodians I spoke with had nothing but nice things to say about the residents of the floors they are in charge of, while others had several horror stories.

As on-campus residents, it’s important to keep in mind how our actions affect those who are trying to keep our living spaces respectable.

Toby Naughton, a custodian who works in Burge and Catlett Halls,  said some of the hardest work days are those after football games. He mentioned that after game days it is inevitable to not have to deal with vomit or urine. He told me how one time he had to wash pee out of trash cans.

“Walking in in the morning and having to deal with that takes a toll on you and gets you behind on your daily schedule,” Naughton said. “We’re just trying to get our job done to get home and enjoy the afternoon.”

I was told about how someone vandalized a hall of the eighth floor. They ripped off the signs that signaled where rooms were, they changed name tags and drew on the walls — all actions of pure selfishness and disregard for those who would have to deal with the aftermath.

Another morning, Naughton said he had to deal with 100 ceiling tiles being kicked out of place in Burge. He said he understood that college students were intoxicated and thus were not thinking rationally. However, he told me that some of the things he encounters, such as pushing out ceiling tiles, is unnecessary and pointless and makes his day longer and harder.

As on-campus residents, it’s important to keep in mind how our actions affect those who are trying to keep our living spaces respectable. It is disrespectful and childish to not clean up after oneself. It is immature and insensitive to leave our mess for others.

We are mature enough to know not to pee in a trash can, as intoxicated as we may be or as funny as our friends might think it is. We should know better than to be inconsiderate to those who get up in the morning to maintain the buildings. We should not make others clean up after us.