Friday, April 08, 2005

The Dusty, Dirty University...

There is no other way to say it…my university is dirtier than it was just a short while ago. Classrooms are not as clean, stairways especially are filthy. I taught last semester in a classroom that was covered, everything, including the computer, with a layer of chalk dust. The trashcan overflowed with cans and pizza boxes.

The past several summers, professors have been asked to empty their trash cans. Bathrooms were left dirty for several days. I don’t mind emptying my trash, but it is a sign of the times, perhaps, when the custodial staff is put out on the mowing crew, and the teenage summer help is not hired to do the lawns and flower beds.

Meanwhile, my university is on a building binge. Grand new buildings are going up everywhere, and at countless universities across the country, as reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education recently. The interest of donors toward funding new bricks and mortar is not matched by their interest in upkeep, and state dollars continue to shrink. So, we have a campus that is rapidly becoming one of gleaming new structures, and dirty, older ones, but no funds to clean either.

What is the situation like at your college or university?

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