By Samantha Hilyer
As residents began returning to their dorms this semester, all the move-in procedures emphasized cleanliness. However, Rooney residents Max Planchon, Cat Nelson and Maggie Hines were shocked to discover that their suite had not been cleaned before their arrival. The suitemates were on the orientation committee, so they arrived at Rooney Hall on Aug. 12, before most of the other upperclassmen.
“The bathroom was filthy; there was hair and dust and grime in the sinks,” Planchon, a senior biochemistry major, said.
One bedroom, according to Planchon and Hines, was in worse condition than the other.
“Immediately when I opened the door, it smelled like mold. We later found out that it was a stain on the carpet from someone defrosting a fridge that was making the smell,” Hines, a senior biology major, said. “There were dirty paper towels in the drawers of my dresser and desk. The counters were sticky and obviously had not been sanitized,” she explained.
The residents tried to contact the Facilities Management Office using the number on the Saint Vincent website, but the calls did not go through, so they then contacted Residence Life. A Residence Life staff member came to their suite to assess the situation.
“[The staff member] told me that someone had been living in the room during summer classes and agreed that the room obviously had not been cleaned by the time I got there,” Hines said.
The staff member also told the suitemates that Residence Life had put in a work order to have all of the orientation committee members’ rooms cleaned before they arrived, but there must have been a communication error since their suite was missed.
Residence Life gathered some FMO workers who then cleaned the bathroom and the suite room.
But both Nelson, a senior computer science major, and Hines agreed that the cleanliness issues with their suite was shocking and upsetting.
“I was mostly upset because I had been seeing things from Saint Vincent College online about how they were going to increase sanitation and after seeing how my room looked at first, I found it very hard to believe those announcements,” Hines said.
Bob Baum, dean of students, said that cleanliness is a commitment every year, especially this year due to COVID-19 precautions.
“This year some students were seeing their rooms for the first time, since— due to COVID-19 in the spring— our housing process was cut short and Residential Living Day wasn’t able to provide the same access as in years past,” Baum said. “When students/families have concerns we do whatever we can to accommodate the situation, including the possibilities of moving rooms, additional cleaning if needed, and so on.”
The suitemates all expressed understanding for the staff at Saint Vincent regarding the incident, due to the circumstances, but still found the ordeal distressing.
“I know preparations for this year were rushed, and I don't believe FMO was responsible for our situation,” Nelson said, “but honestly I'm still peeved; this year of all years, the college couldn't live up to basic cleanliness standards.”