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Officials to clear homeless encampment near campus in May
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • March 4, 2024

Officials to increase Thurston communal bathroom cleanings after student complaints

Hatchet File Photo
Officials plan to house second- and third-year students off-campus to allow for renovations to Thurston Hall.

Officials said they will begin cleaning Thurston Hall’s community bathrooms more frequently after students submitted complaints about the building’s dirtiness following their return from winter break.

KC Costanzo, the customer engagement and service enhancement associate for the Division of Safety and Facilities, sent an email to Thurston residents Wednesday issuing an apology for “uneven” housekeeping, saying they will task additional staff, like managers and a special supervisor, to oversee the cleanliness of the building’s bathrooms. Officials said they will implement an extra midday shift to maintain their new “proactive” system after students reported a lack of cleaning in the bathrooms this year.

Last week, officials sent an additional email to residents, stating the sixteen communal bathrooms on every floor would be deep-cleaned twice per day and students should immediately report any observed discrepancies to stay on top of “potential issues.”

More than a dozen students said they have noticed a lack of sanitation in Thurston’s bathrooms and study spaces, including hair-covered walls and sinks, toilets clogged for days at a time, buildup around sinks and showers, overflowing trash cans and empty toilet paper and towel dispensers. Students said they are often responsible for cleaning up in the communal bathrooms.

Nora Butter, a freshman fifth-floor resident, said prior to the email sent out last week, she had not seen any workers cleaning the bathrooms on her floor since the start of the semester. She said there was no toilet paper in the bathrooms for at least a week and the bathroom floor accumulated garbage because of trash can overflow.

Thurston and Mitchell halls are the only two residence halls on campus with communal bathrooms, according to the University website.

“People still don’t know how to plunge or flush toilets which is baffling to me,” Butter said. “Even if I was showering in there, I still wouldn’t feel fully clean just because of how gross the bathroom was.”

Scarlett Metts, a freshman second-floor resident, said since she received the email from officials last week, she has seen the custodial staff cleaning bathrooms but has not noticed a difference in the cleanliness. Metts added that the restocking of toilet paper has been “better,” but the toilets have remained “disgusting.”

“I don’t know if it’s that they’re not cleaning them or if it’s just that the people who live here immediately mess it up,” Metts said.

Metts also said she thought the sanitation in Thurston is worse than in other halls because the bathrooms are communal. She said she noticed a trend in the “disrespect” of residents toward the bathrooms because they do not bear as much responsibility for cleaning them.

“When you have your own bathroom, you want to clean it because you actively have to live with it every day,” Metts said. “When you have a communal bathroom, and it’s a shared space and you have other people cleaning it for you, then you feel like you can just do it.”

Grace Butler, a freshman second-floor resident, said she has noticed “ups and downs” living in Thurston from the combination of the building’s novel amenities and its sparse cleaning. She said she notices some staff members doing an “amazing” job cleaning the bathrooms while others just wipe down the bathrooms, which sometimes is “not enough.”

“A lot of the study spaces and hangout things you just don’t get in other buildings, and I wouldn’t want to trade that,” Butler said. “But I think that some of the cleanliness concerns we can’t control. If we had our own bathroom with the suite we could clean it up, but I’m not gonna go into communal bathrooms and clean them all the time.”

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