Below-Standards Living for Below-Ground Housing


I have to admit that I entered college with my mind full of horror stories about bathrooms shared by young adults who had better things to do than clean up after themselves. I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only were my fellow freshman more than willing to avoid the tragedy of the commons, but that we were also supported by a dedicated housekeeping staff who kept our living spaces up to standards of cleanliness that I missed this summer when I was the one who had to do the scrubbing.

I entered this year with the expectation that I would once again be living in a space that was clean and comfortable. Since moving in this September, the residents of the Blaisdell basement have faced a number of unpleasant and potentially hazardous lapses in sanitation and maintenance. Our bathroom, one of three shared by almost 30 people, was not on a regular cleaning schedule until almost three weeks into the year. Our rooms continue to be plagued by an infestation of rats that eat our clothes and leave droppings on our floors. Last week our bathroom ceiling leaked yellow water that pooled on the floor in front of the showers.

While the hard-working individuals who have responded to our concerns have done so graciously, I am troubled by what seems to be a pervasive lack of communication between students, staff, and facilities departments. Numerous student emails about rats went unanswered by OCL, and the problem was only taken care of when students contacted maintenance directly. Even then, communication to students about the problem was all but nonexistent. The ceiling drip created a puddle for at least a week, yet it appears that housekeeping neither reported it, nor cleaned up the mess that was clearly marked by a trash can that collected only some of the leak.

Our housing is simply not living up to Pomona’s standards of excellence, or even basic standards of health and cleanliness. Our time in the residence halls shouldn’t be characterized by frequent calls to maintenance or tiptoeing around the yellow moat that protected the showers from shoeless invaders. Pipes break and rodents seek food-filled rooms, but we each contribute a good deal of money to ensure that our housing is maintained to the standard that the Pomona community expects of itself. A school with Pomona’s financial resources and talented, hard-working staff can do far better than this.

–Jamie Hall 2012

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