Disclaimer: I am not using this post to attack the JMU students, faculty, or administration, I am using two personal accounts from housekeepers who work at JMU to critique the way our society treats housekeepers and custodial staff as a whole. This post will be broken up into two parts, one focusing on possible solutions at the JMU level, and then focusing on other campuses across the nation. My evidence relies heavily on these personal stories, so if questions are raised about where do I get the facts from, I’m receiving them from these accounts. If you have any articles or statistics or other accounts that you would like to share in the comment section, to better my argument or to critique mine, please feel free!
A “stop-being-trashy” dart to all the slobs in Rose Library during finals week last semester for leaving their trash laying around
From a student who shouldn’t have to tell you that housekeepers are not your mother
This dart was in the Breeze in early January and this one resonated with me. This week I’ve had in depth conversations with two housekeepers about their experiences with JMU. At JMU the golden rule is to open doors for people, a sign of the respect we have for one another, but shouldn’t another expectation be to have higher regards for housekeepers and the rest of custodial staff. This may sound harsh and of course not all of us are rude to our housekeepers and custodial staff, but ask yourself this, “How many times do I say thank you to the people who clean up after me every day?”
The housekeeper who I spoke too, we will just call her Miss Awesome, for the time being. Miss Awesome, expresses that when she use to clean for the dorms that most of the students could care less about the impact their drunken weekends leave on the people who have to clean up the mess. Miss Awesome expresses that they would throw up in the mens’ toilets and the women would not flush after using the bathroom. Miss Awesome even states that she feels like JMU doesn’t care for her at all, because it would be easily accessible to find a replacement if she was ever to complain. Miss Awesome and another housekeeper are the only two who work this one morning shift in an academic building and only having two people to clean a big area is not right. Miss Awesome told me if she knew that she would be killing herself working so hard at JMU, she would have considered working somewhere else. I know this is only one of the two testaments, but I can’t help but to think that she isn’t the only one who feels this way. I love this school with my whole heart, but I believe that more appreciation needs to be given to these house keepers from not only students, but faculty and administration. Students I advice you to just be more considerate of the people around you and give more thanks. Miss Awesome told me that this one student was the only one who used Miss in front of her name as a sign of respect. Once this student started saying this, the other students copied him and Miss Awesome instantly felt more appreciated.
For administration I would seriously consider having someone investigate the working environment of these housekeepers. Maybe there needs to be more workers on certain areas, so these housekeepers aren’t hurting their bodies so much. Also current housekeepers should trust that their job will not always be in jeopardy for expressing their concerns. Also just more general appreciation, a housekeeper of the year gets a bonus. Have special dinners and lunches for housekeepers, that are paid for from the school and not coming out of their own pockets. Even if these things are implemented, do more, because I shouldn’t have a Housekeeper telling me she regrets her decision to work at JMU.
Links That Show Some of JMU’s Efforts