Housing conditions concern residents

By Shane Evans
November 18, 2005

Shane Evans

The living conditions for residents here at Cabrini are seemingly deteriorating. From Xavier hall to the apartment complex, students have voiced their disdain over conditions that have gotten progressively worse as the year has gone on.

Students argue that the state that the dorms are left in after the housekeeping service is finished working is simply unacceptable and something needs to be done. Members of the administration, in particularly, facilities, disagree saying that the reason things may not to be perfect is because too much time is taken to do other jobs.

Director of facilities Howard Holden understands that with a new housekeeping company on hand, there is obviously going to be a “learning curve,” but they are still doing an excellent job. Holden accredited the impeded progress of the new company to the fact that they have to take time to do other chores beforehand.

“Services provided by both housekeeping and the facilities department often become hampered due to intentional or careless misuse of the facilities. When staff find themselves constantly repairing broken entry doors, cleaning up trash cans that have been dumped into a toilet and flushed, repairing the same window screen 10 times or replacing the same exit sign six times, a significant amount of labor is diverted from making progress to just trying to maintain.”

Because of this, things ostensibly just do not get done. For example, those ‘things’ in the Dixon House (House 2), are the lack of hand soap on a regular basis, the fact that the bathrooms are not cleaned on a daily basis and just the overall appearance of the house is not what you would expect for a private college’s dorm. Marissa Simeone, a sophomore graphic design major, lives in house 2 and had this to say,

“Our housing conditions should really be improved. The bathrooms in House 2 have no soap; there is never any toilet paper and the showers are rarely clean. Sometimes when you go into the bathroom it seems like they do a poor job just to get done and get out. If we are having a cleaning staff, then I think that they should be cleaning and not just moving the dirt around to get the job done quicker. I understand its not the greatest job but someone’s got to do it, and they get paid to keep the dorms clean, and it is just not getting done right now.”

The problem is apparently a campus-wide issue, as residents of other dorms are speaking up. Dominique Maugeri, a sophomore psychology major and a resident of new residence hall, had similar qualms as Simeone, but recognized that part of the blame should be on the students themselves.

“We have no paper towels to dry our hands, the toliets are always clogged, and the shower is broken. I believe the reason for this is because no one takes a stand and talks to the proper authority to improve the situation. We just keep hopping around at different bathrooms and it is ridiculous because no one does anything change things. It is really our fault for not speaking up,” Magueri said.

That is a big reason why things aren’t getting done, but Holden directs a lot of the problems to a simple lack of respect for the housekeepers and that subsequently turns into a lowered morale from the workers. They are constantly forced to attend to other tasks that take away from their normal workload and they simply can’t get through everything in the time they have.

Bill Zimmerman, one of Cabrini’s area coordinators (house 2 included), thinks that the housekeeping staff does the best job they can, keeping in mind the type of job they have.

“I think it’s one of those things where they have a certain amount of hours. They are hourly employees so if they can’t get through everything because of other issues that they need to deal with, they can’t address those other issues like putting soap in the bathrooms etc,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman meets regularly with the head of housekeeping, “Miss Betty”, members of residents life, all the ACs and facilities director Holden. They discuss repairs that are not getting done, raising money for housekeeping concerns and most importantly, there is an open dialogue about what is and is not getting done on both ends.

One element that is missing from these meetings however, is that of the student. With the voice of the student, the meeting does not seem to be complete. But as Magueri said, no one has stepped forth to make any changes.

The students agree there is a problem. The administration thinks they are doing a fair job. Things will stay that way until both sides come together and openly discuss the issue.

As stated by both Bill and Howard, a big reason that things are getting done is because of the lack of respect for the dorms themselves. When property is vandalized and maltreated because of “irresponsible behavior,” it makes it hard for the housekeepers to focus on the little things. It also affects their morale, according to Holden, because they feel really disrespected.

Zimmerman issues warnings and fines for such careless behavior by the students, but a lot of the time that does nothing but adversely affect the students attitudes.

Living in the dorms definitely personifies a delicate balance between the people that clean them and the people that inhabit them, and there will be clashes, but things cannot improve until the respect level and the communication level between both sides increases.

Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to: Loquitur@yahoogroups.com. The editors will review your points each week and make corrections if warranted.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Shane Evans

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