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Cleaning house: housekeeping services dumped

Jackie Kennedy

This year, Housing Management and Dining Services cut housekeeping services in independent living residences, leaving students with unanswered questions, bigger bills and no compensation.

Last year, Mills provided Ross House and Larsen House weekly housekeeping services. Services included basic cleaning of common areas.

Maria Dominguez, continuing Ross House resident and current House Manager, said that the cleaning services really helped the community of residents living there.

“The cutting out of housekeeping services from the benefits of living in Ross House, especially along with an increase to the cost of living here, is not what we want,” said senior Mandy Day.

Day said that residents of both Ross House and Larsen House agree that they want housekeeping. If Mills cannot provide the service, the residents want some money back from their housing cost.

According to both Day and Dominguez, continuing Ross House residents received a new policy agreement form in the spring semester of last year. The form notified residents that their housekeeping was canceled beginning in the fall.

Larsen residents did not receive any notification, said House Manager Nicole Hudley.

Dominguez said she was appalled that residents were not asked for input, but were told of the decision after the fact.
Dominguez expressed her opposition to the housekeeping policy by returning the form to HMDS without her signature.

According to Dominguez, Housing Supervisor Connie Valentine confirmed the housekeeping cut during an August training session for Residential Assistants and House Managers.
Hudley said that she had not heard of the decision until the training session.

Concerned, Dominguez spoke to HMDS. “The only reason HMDS gave us,” said Dominguez, “was that housekeeping was canceled due to student request.”

This answer did not satisfy Dominguez. She and other house residents asked HMDS to justify their decision.

Hudley and Dominguez started a petition, asking for HMDS to reinstate housekeeping or to refund the residents money comparable to the cost of housekeeping.

Karen Maggio, associate vice president of campus planning and facilities, told Hudley that during the last Housing Policy and Procedure Committee meeting, the housekeeping issue was introduced, but no plans were changed.

At the meeting, Maggio said that other colleges do not offer housekeeping to their independent housing residents.

Although Dominguez and Hudley said that they tried to meet with Maggio for about two weeks, she was not available.

HMDS was not available to comment on the situation.

Dominguez said that she wanted to keep the dispute between Ross, Larsen and HMDS, but the difficulties with reaching HMDS caused them to branch out to other resources.

In a letter to Maggio, Hudley and Dominguez wrote their demands: housekeeping or a refund “to all of us so that we can hire our own professional housekeeping services.”

“We really do want to work with HMDS,” said Dominguez, “but want to do so face-to-face, with more open communication and transparency in the decision-making process from now on.”