My university is diverse. To take a cue from SJP in the Family Stone, “We love the gays.” Our school loves talking about the 16% of us who aren’t US citizens. We’ve got every kind of alliance you can think of; gay-stright alliance, Asian heritage alliance, Christian-Catholic alliances, amputee-people-with-two-legs-alliance. (Ok, I made that last one up…)
Last Friday I walked in on an event in a campus building called “Hillelol”, as in the combination of a Jewish organization and Laugh Out Loud. Five minutes and three small penis jokes later I made my exit, but I was impressed nonetheless. I may not be Jewish or have a small penis but thank god someone at my school does. I love diversity.
One alliance that has received a lot of press lately is the Student- Janitor Alliance. Yes, don’t forget the little people. And in this case the little people are those who clean the toilets after the dining hall whips up a extra spicy batch of buffalo chili, and cleans the halls after Johnny Froshie has one Natty-Ice too many and splatter paints the wall with his upchuck. I’d say they deserve some support and representation.
When I lived in student housing I tried to be respectful and make their jobs easier when I could. But I wasn’t perfect. I remember one time, the Cockroach Incident of ‘07, where I may have done more harm than good. I came home from a party one Saturday night my freshman year and found a cockroach squashed on the bathroom floor. Did I clean up the mess and retire quietly to bed? Did I leave the cockroach where it was and wait for someone else to clean it up? Did I run away screaming? No, my friends, I did not. My mind started reeling; maybe that cockroach was pregnant and there were eggs inside of it when it was killed. Maybe the eggs were still alive and could hatch at any time and an army of roaches could come down the hall and attack me in my bed. So I took the most toxic thing I had in my dorm room, nail polish remover, and poured the entire bottle on the cockroach, killing every last one of those potential baby roaches.
Hindsight is 20/20. And my hindsight tells me that the chances of a pregnant cockroach breeding an army of post-mortem roach children on my bathroom floor are pretty slim. But I’m not a scientist.
Either way, the next day I averted my eyes awkwardly when Susanna was cleaning the explosion of nature and nail care, and I’ve felt bad about it ever since.
So while we’re talking diversity… if there are students advocating for Janitor rights, there are probably some kids who want to do everything they can to make the janitors’ lives hell.
An article in our school paper last week talked about a case of seriel vandalism in Carmichael Hall. A girls bathroom is being repeatedly smeared with excrement. That’s right, POOP.
I just. Don’t. Understand.
How does the university that fosters a alliance between well-intentioned collegians and under-appreciated janitors also house serial shit smearers?
Diversity. That’s how.