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Carmichael bathroom again defaced with excrement

Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 01:12

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Andrew Schneer / The Tufts Daily

A UGL Unicco employee working at Tufts discovered and cleaned up excrement in a Carmichael Hall bathroom last week.

For the second time in three years, a Tufts janitor discovered excrement on the walls of a bathroom in the Carmichael Hall lobby last week, an incidence of vandalism the janitor said she views as a personal attack.

Tufts Labor Coalition (TLC) is currently lobbying in support of Maria, an employee of Tufts’ janitorial services contractor UGL Unicco. Maria, who declined to give her last name, said in Spanish through an interpreter that she discovered and then cleaned up the fecal matter in a coed lobby bathroom while working a shift in Carmichael last week.

A similar incident occurred in the spring of 2010, also in Carmichael and also involving Maria, prompting outrage among students.

“When this happened two years ago, students found me crying, which is how the story came to light the first time,” Maria said, as translated by senior Diego Laurenti Sellers.

Members of TLC consider the vandalism to be an act of disrespect toward the janitors in Carmichael, and believe that it reflects disrespect for janitorial staff campus−wide.

“There is a sense that everyone that lives here, works here and studies here, aren’t necessarily part of the same community,” senior Alexa Sasanow, a member of TLC, said. “To treat someone with that sort of disrespect is abhorrent and contrary to the mission of what Tufts is supposed to be.”

TLC works to increase the quality of interaction between janitors and the Tufts community at large, according to Josephine Herman, a senior and co−chair of TLC.

“I don’t know if it is that students aren’t thinking about the reality that actual human beings are forced to clean up their bodily fluids, or that they don’t care, but there is generally a problem at Tufts with this stuff and disrespect for janitors,” Sasanow said.

Herman said while she did not believe that the vandalism was meant to do emotional harm to the janitors in particular, she still considers the act to be disrespectful.

“More likely it is an act of drunken stupidity, and not as much targeting the janitors, but that doesn’t change the fact that the janitor is the one that had to clean it up and deal with the consequences of that,” Herman said.

Sasanow said that some students do not realize the effect that their actions have on university staff.

“There is a sense for a lot of students that someone is coming to clean up, so it doesn’t matter if they do it,” she said. “A lot of times, Tufts students can act entitled.”

Students in Carmichael have also been taking down flyers bearing phrases such as “Be Considerate” and stuffing them into toilets, Maria said.

TLC attempts to combat this attitude, Herman said.

“People can’t take it for granted that other people are going to clean up for them,” she said. “It isn’t that difficult to just be a little more conscientious in your everyday life.”

TLC has posted pictures of staff members on bulletin boards in the residence halls, along with information about who they are in an effort to help students understand that the employees are not just people who come to clean, and that they deserve to be treated with respect, Herman said.

“If you live in a dorm, it is easy to go up to someone and introduce yourself, and that simple action can lead to better relationships within the Tufts community,” she said.

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