Commentary: Cleanliness without oppression

Christina Collins Burton, Editor in Chief
Christina Collins Burton, Editor in Chief

Let me clarify something before I start in with the issue I have with the definition of cleanliness. I have lived in housing since I started as a freshman at the University of La Verne. Three of those years were spent in the Oaks F and A buildings, and now my senior year is going to be finished off in Vista.

I have never once faced any drastic health risks, parasites or violated any safety regulations set forth by housing, nor do I plan on going crazy breaking rules now that I am on my way out. I will, however, have to speak up about the latest health inspection that was done in my suite.

My roommate and I passed the inspection, no problem.

The rest of the floor was not as lucky. I understand that Vista La Verne is the shiny, new building on campus and should still be near new when the students move out next year. But when I moved in I did not realize that Nazi Germany would be conducting the health inspections.

Friends of mine were busted for dust in their bathroom, a couple pieces of hair in or around their tub and water droplets marking up their faucets. Other than the little things, the bathrooms were organized and comfortable for the residents that had to use them every day. On top of that, a lot of them fixed the issues that were pointed out and failed again. These fails come from dorms that reported bedbugs from the first week of school, including in the Vista dorms.

Instead of getting summoned to some sort of council of clean, they talked to the resident adviser about why they failed and were given their passing grade. The last time I had to talk to someone about messing up, I was in kindergarten and being scolded for kicking sand.

The Housing and Residential Life policies that are given to residents upon move-in outlines the basics for care of the room. “It is the responsibility of all roommates to keep the room clean and sanitary throughout the occupancy period. This includes proper care of windows, screens, vents, etc.” is the only statement that talks about keeping the space sanitary.

Hospital rooms are clean and sanitary, but I do not recall patients being particularly happy about being in a plain white room that smells of iodine or peroxide.

The other dorms are cleaned regularly by outside people. Residents are only responsible for their dorm rooms, which are usually over-looked if they are piled three feet high with dirty laundry.

In the Oaks there is a little bit of a higher standard because each floor has their own lounge. But these three dorms have one thing in common- shared bathrooms. These bathrooms get clogged, have toilets back up and are left covered in wookiee hairballs bigger than my fist, yet they “pass” for daily life.

In Vista, you have your own bathroom that maybe you share with one other person. While it is polite to return a dorm like “new” when you move out, there is a period of nine months where that is your home.

Imagine a guest busting you because your bathroom did not meet their standards of clean– it is not a nice feeling.

Just because you were a little grossed out does not mean you should force someone who is suppose to be treating this space like home to suddenly become super neat.

While the precious new resident hall is the shining leap forward for housing, there has to be some compromise. You cannot expect young adults to be just as anal about cleanliness as hotels are. Lighten up and realize that being the Third Reich of hygiene is not winning any battles.

Christina Collins Burton, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at

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