Students living in suite-style residences Kemper, Slivka and the newly opened 560 Lincoln received a notice from their Resident Assistants that they would be responsible for cleaning their own bathrooms throughout the year. Starting Winter Quarter, once toilet paper dispensers are updated and hand soap dispensers removed, residents will also have to buy their own toilet paper and hand soap.
Residential Services revised the policy over summer break. Assistant Vice President of Residential and Dining Services Paul Riel asked Residential Services to give “additional consideration to the dynamics of private spaces that the university enters regularly,” according to Jennifer Luttig-Komrosky, executive director of residential services.
While looking at residential spaces, Residential Services realized there was “an inconsistency” when it came to cleaning policies for private and semi-private bathrooms. The new policy comes from a desire to prioritize student privacy and to make the cleaning policies consistent.
Residents initially heard they would have to provide their own cleaning supplies as part of the new policy. However, those living in affected residences opened their doors Wednesday morning to buckets containing microfiber towels, glass cleaners, paper towels and other supplies, many of which are environmentally friendly.
“Distributed to all rooms is a cleaning kit to help you and your roommates make plans for cleaning all your private or semi-private bathrooms,” read a letter that came with the buckets.
The “one-time starter kits” were provided based on feedback received from students, according to Luttig-Komrosky.
McCormick senior Henry Park, a resident of 560 Lincoln, expressed his disapproval of the change.
“The only reason I wanted to live on campus in a dorm was because of the fact that I don’t have to spend time cleaning and maintaining my living spaces,” Park said. “But by taking that away, I don’t feel an inclination to live on campus anymore.”
Park added that his suite is dividing up the cleaning duties as equally as possible.
“We just clean it every single day,” Park said. “We try to keep it as clean as possible.”
Christine Hickernell, a McCormick Junior residing at Slivka, also opposes the new policy.
“Housing prices affect a lot of students in choosing which dorm to live in, and Slivka students already paid more to be in a residential college and for the weekly bathroom service,” Hickernell said. “This confusion also adds more stress to new students, as they now must clean their bathrooms compared to their peers who live in residential halls.”
Now, Hickernell said she may move off campus next year because of the cleaning policy changes.
Park and Hickernell were not the only ones disgruntled by this sudden change.
“Most, if not all of us, are very unhappy with the changes,” said Rachana Kolli, Slivka’s president. “We weren’t informed about them before we signed our housing contracts, and I’ve heard multiple people saying they would have chosen to reside elsewhere if they had known.”
Despite the dissent, however, Residential Services does not plan to repeal this change.
“We are certainly always collecting feedback and are in a continual process of evaluating policies. But at this point, I expect that this is the policy moving forward,” said Luttig-Komrosky. “But with that said, we also want to hear from students."
Residential Services will host various events starting this week where residents can win additional cleaning supplies such as mops and more scrubbing brushes.