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Flush fees down the toilet

by Tabi Hoshmand, Contributor

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A $25 fee  for everyone living on the floor because someone didn’t flush the toilet. How is it even possible to file against that? A floor meeting was called when one of the girl’s bathrooms in Chapultepec had complaints from the custodial staff. Apparently, one of the toilets wasn’t flushed and the custodial staff complained for having to be the babysitter.

In the Guide to Community Living and Roommate Agreement booklet, which is given to freshmen when they move in, the custodial staff’s description is, “they work to ensure a clean and sanitary community.” How is not flushing the toilet, ensuring a “clean and sanitary community?” Of course, it’s silly that the girls never flushed, but that’s not the point. Why are we paying for the service that’s against us? It’s understood by the majority that the staff does a good job of keeping the floors clean, but being that it’s part of their job description, why is it in turn becoming the resident’s problem? A $25 fee, when considering the amount of residents on one floor, for one person’s mistake is completely absurd.

The first meeting with the floor after move-in day consisted of the Resident Advisers informing everyone with the rules of living in the residence halls. One guideline mentioned was a $25 fee that could be placed on residents if custodial staff filed a complaint against them.

At first, the rule seems fair, however, nowhere in the entire handbook is there anything about a $25 fee. What if the RAs forget to mention that because they are brand new? Can a charge like that still be placed out of the blue? Just because the RAs forgot does not make it our problem.

Even if they remembered, the entire meeting was filled with phrases like “it’s in the handbook.” That reference is clearly not credible or fair. How can someone be blindly charged for something that was not even his or her fault? What are the standards for a $25 fee in the first place and how are the residents aware if it’s not mentioned anywhere?

Does this make the fee a bluff? Is the staff just trying to scare the floor by claiming to charge us? If so, how is that fair? Any small problem that the custodial stuff has with the floor can easily be filed to charge them. This kind of power can easily be taken advantage.

Are they paying for a staff that is just bitter from their messes? With a building full of freshmen, what is there to expect? Of course, the argument being freshmen are officially in the real world and must in turn be adults that can pick up after themselves. This should be true, but a lot of them are just used to their parents cleaning up after themselves for 18 years and it’s hard to change habits so quickly.

A $25 fee doesn’t seem like much individually but when you consider the 80 some students on one floor it totals up to $2,000. $2,000 for not flushing a toilet. The fact that a fee like that can be placed on a floor multiple times throughout the year is even more ridiculous.

How are we supposed to trust the staff to keep a hygienic and sanitary environment if flushing the toilet was one small problem? It’s not expected of them to clean up throw up or gross stuff smeared on the toilet, but if all the problem was a toilet not being flushed, then it’s time to find something bigger to charge for because at this point it’s obvious they are bluffing. Somewhere, it needs to be stated that this fee exists and it’s not just some random scare floating in the heads of residents. If this fee is to be impactful, then it’s time to make it a real rule rather than one just randomly mentioned. It’s only fair to the residents and therefore it’s fair for the custodial staff to use it.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Flush fees down the toilet”

  1. Indentured Student on October 31st, 2014 12:33 am

    Issues students in residence halls are facing do not stem just from the staff they deal with on a day to day basis, such as the custodial staff, the residence hall coordinator, or any of the para-professional staff. They actually are deep-rooted from the foundation of Residential Education.

    In my experience as a para-professional staff member at Residential Education, I learned so many things about its core values as a capitalistic-based organization with no regard for their students’ education. Literally, Residential Education charges for every wrong move you make. That $2000 a floor can generate in fines through one offense usually isn’t the only fine the floor will face in an academic year. If you are locked out from your room, if you leave your clothes in the bathroom, if you forget your ID card to check-in at the front desk, if you are rearrange the furniture in your room, if you spill on the carpet, you’re charged an insane fee of $25. Even as an RA, Residential Education fines you for common areas such as the unflushed toilet. And you know what they do with the money they’re profiting from? NOTHING! The $25 charge does not go towards the custodial staff for cleaning more toilets, nor do they go to the RA’s for waking up at 3am to unlock their resident’s door. They sit in Residential Education’s bank account.

    When it comes to treatment of para-professional staff, the money always comes first. Employees are constantly threatened by their superiors by the mandatory weekly, 3-hour staff meetings clause and “additional duties as assigned” clause in their signed contract, basically meaning they are forced to attend every made-up event in fear of termination. I felt trapped in the wrath of Residential “Education” because they controlled my living situation and my stipend for food and books, and if I disobeyed their policies at the time, I would have been a homeless college student. Also, when they look for students to rehire, they choose those who are obedient and show no resistance to their obscure policies. One of my ex-coworkers was not rehired for the next academic year she applied for because she “cared more about her academics than the job” (seriously?!). As a student, we have one job and one job only: to be students!!!!!!! Or, in the eyes of Residential Education, to be indentured servants.

    Students and student staff living in the residence halls are easy bank accounts, but even easier and cheaper labor to abuse at San Diego State University!

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