Complaints over washroom cleanliness rising at Ryerson

The state of Ryerson’s washrooms is raising eyebrows on campus with students and staff telling The Ryersonian campus cleanliness is getting worse, especially in washrooms.

“I have no idea how often they’re cleaned, but we were pretty satisfied with the previous service that we got because it got cleaned and the bathrooms didn’t smell,” said Vanessa Sako, a third-year interior design student.

She says this year, she has noticed almost no cleaning staff late at night in her building compared to last year.

A women's washroom on campus. (Angela Serednicki/Ryersonian Staff)

A women’s washroom on campus. (Angela Serednicki/Ryersonian Staff)

This should not be the case as the only major change to the maintenance schedule would only affect staff.

Cleaning service for employee workspaces was reduced to one time per week from five, according to an email sent to all Ryerson employees by Campus Facilities and Sustainability (CF&S) on Sept. 1.

“Departments and faculties across campus have all needed to look for ways to reduce costs to better allocate scarce resources,” the email said. “This reduced schedule has the added benefit of giving our cleaning staff more time to focus on public and high-traffic areas.”

The new cleaning schedule means closed office spaces, shared workstations, and cubicles will not have personal waste baskets emptied daily.

“As for washroom cleanliness, we have several supervisors and inspect spaces on campus regularly,” said Kerri Bailey, manager of finance and strategic planning at CF&S.

Sako voiced concerns about how true this is.

In one case, Sako said a mess involving feminine hygiene in the girls’ washroom was not cleaned for a week. “Obviously, because of that mess nobody used that toilet for a while,” she said. “At the same time, another one smelled awful because of ‘other stuff’ you do in the bathroom.”

A corner of the floor in a women's washroom on campus. (Angela Serednicki/Ryersonian Staff)

A corner of the floor in a women’s washroom on campus. (Angela Serednicki/Ryersonian Staff)

In The Ryersonian newsroom, garbage bins have not been emptied regularly since the beginning of the year, resulting in fruit flies appearing.

Bailey said CF&S takes all feedback about the services as a work request, not a complaint. “Our department depends on community engagement to keep the campus looking good,” Bailey said.

Students and staff can file work requests by calling or emailing CF&S, and through the SmartCampus app in Ryerson Mobile website.

A total of 27,885 work requests have been filed so far this year, compared to 27,461 requests in 2014, and 26,317 the year before. The total of work orders has increased by 5.8 per cent since 2012-2013 with still two more months left this year.

Ryerson's cleaning and maintenance schedule (Brittany Ferreira/Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson’s cleaning and maintenance schedule (Brittany Ferreira/Ryersonian Staff)

The Ted Rogers School of Management building had the highest number of work orders at 2,686 this year. That represents more than half of all four Kerr Hall buildings, which total up to 4,107 work requests. The School of Interior Design building had 226 requests, compared to 260 last year.

A toilet in a women's washroom on campus. (Angela Serednicki/Ryersonian Staff)

A toilet in a women’s washroom on campus. (Angela Serednicki/Ryersonian Staff)

Bailey said they do not differentiate between requests made by students or staff because only full names and email addresses or phone numbers are used.

“Some other things which may affect the number of work orders per building are obviously building size, building use (labs, classrooms, offices), whether they have a dedicated building manager, how much dedicated campus infrastructure a building may house, and the most critical – building traffic,” said Bailey.

“Overall, it’s pretty well maintained,” said Simrin Singh, a second-year occupational health and safety student on the state of campus washrooms. “I’ve seen better but I’ve also seen worse.”

This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Nov. 4, 2015.

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