Should students inflict their mess on cleaners?

November 28th, 2013 Category: Educational Establishments

Students are generally known for their outrageous behaviour and we’ve all either heard stories of the ridiculous antics or experienced it ourselves. Articles often appear in the papers about the unsavoury behaviour of some UK students.

Student halls often become the home to the aftermath of messy parties and the drunken shenanigans of teenagers. Most students have never lived away from home before coming to university so they often think its acceptable to leave pans to “soak” in the sink for so long that the bottoms rust through or leave bins to overflow to the point that trying to dispose of something becomes a game of Buckaroo – carefully placing items on the top of a bulging bag, hoping that it doesn't topple over.

Some universities employ cleaners to tidy up the mess students make in their halls, which can make them blase about tidying up after themselves and cause them to develop a “why have a dog and bark yourself” approach to cleanliness. These cleaners often have to deal with things that probably weren't outlined in their contracts.

In a recent article in the Guardian, a female student, who also worked as a cleaner, provided a grim image of what university cleaners are expected to deal with. She said: “Faeces on the walls. Blood from fights. They used to turn used condoms inside out and smear the contents down the banisters.

“Their favourite thing to do was run to the top of the stairwells and urinate down them. They did that several times a week and I would have to sterilise the stairs.”  

The mess left by students could be mistaken for a dirty protest. Yet the cleaners persevere and tidy up, only to come back the week after and face the same ghastly scene.

Should the university supply cleaners? Isn’t the point of moving away from home to learn life skills, such as being able to clean your plate after a meal and being able to urinate in the toilet, rather than on the floor?