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Messy bathrooms in classic residence halls cause concern for students

Dykstra Hall, where a resident director recently reported concerns about bathroom cleanliness and urine in stairwells, is pictured. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Tiffany Xiao

Feb. 26, 2024 9:32 a.m.

Residents living in classic residence halls on the Hill have raised concerns regarding cleanliness in communal bathrooms.

Across the Hill’s four classic halls – Dykstra, Sproul, Rieber and Hedrick – each floor has a separate men’s and women’s bathroom for all residents of the floor to share. Each bathroom includes four to six toilet stalls, showers and sinks, and is supposed to be cleaned each morning and refreshed every afternoon, according to an emailed statement from UCLA Housing.

In a Feb. 14 email to Dykstra Hall residents, Resident Director Liza Blevins said trash had been left in lounges, bathrooms were messy and urine had been found in stairwells. Dykstra residents were reminded to promote community safety by reporting disruptive behavior in campus housing, Blevins said in the email.

Audrey Canlas, a first-year biology student living in Dykstra Hall, said she has found toilet seat liners that had not been fully flushed and purple hair dye stains in the only open shower stall. Canlas said these experiences have led her to be more vigilant in the bathroom.

“I’m definitely more cautious with what I touch, especially in the shower,” Canlas said. “I don’t really want to touch the curtain. I don’t want to touch the walls.”

Enya Barrozo, a first-year neuroscience student, added that she has found hair clogging drains and pimple patches stuck to the wall in the showers in Dykstra Hall.

Students in other classic resident halls, including Sproul, Hedrick and Rieber Halls, echoed similar frustrations.

Samantha Redifer, a first-year computer engineering student, said she has observed hair in the showers, residue on the sink from washing dishes and flooded stalls in the girls’ bathroom in Sproul Hall.

Mirjana Vujovich, a second-year computer science student living in Sproul Hall, said the lack of cleaning materials has sometimes exacerbated issues in the bathrooms.

“I feel like it’s not so much dirty as it is wet,” Vujovich said. “Sometimes there’s water that gets spilled, and then since we don’t have paper towels, we can’t clean it up.”

When there are no paper towels and toilet paper, Vujovich said she sometimes goes to the bathroom on another floor.

Mikayla Ayon, a first-year sociology student living in Rieber Hall, added that she thought the mess in bathrooms was inconsiderate, given that they are shared spaces.

Liam Moreno, a first-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student living in Hedrick Hall, said people in his building also sometimes leave clothes in the shower stalls, which he feels is unhygienic.

“It’s gross … when you’re going in there and you see someone’s socks or shoes (or) underwear,” he said.

Vujovich, who is part of the Resident Government Council, added that the On-Campus Housing Council representatives often receive complaints from Sproul Hall residents about puddles and water leakages. Upon forwarding those concerns to senior administrators on the Hill, Vujovich said OCHC representatives are given little explanation about the concerns and are instructed to put in work orders instead.

Amanda Mrad, a fourth-year physiological science student and resident assistant in Sproul Hall, said up to 60 people may be using the same bathroom on any day, given that the south side of her floor houses around 90 residents total.

“It’s funny – as an RA, it is a space that I see a lot of residents and we say hello in,” Mrad said. “That’s a reminder of how many different people are using this space.”

Students and administrators both emphasized the importance of communication to maintain tidy bathroom spaces. Ayon said she noticed improvements when students texted in dorm-wide GroupMe chats reminding their peers to pick up personal belongings.

Mrad added that she appreciates when people notify her about inconsiderate facility usage, so she can send out reminders to residents.

Although housekeeping does not refuse to clean messes in restrooms, custodians will report concerns – such as misplaced menstrual hygiene products, vomit in toilet stalls, sinks and showers, and damaged locks and doors – to management, according to the emailed statement from UCLA Housing. It added in the statement that reports directed to the front desk are addressed by afternoon staff.

Despite the issues, Vujovich said she appreciates the work done by UCLA’s housekeeping staff.

Moreno also said he appreciates how custodians are always respectful of residents when they are scheduled to clean, announcing their presence and waiting for students to exit the bathroom at their own pace. He added that he feels students should be making more of an effort to keep bathrooms tidy.

“They’re people, and they’re just trying to do the job,” Moreno said. “It’s the least we can do, to clean up our hair.”

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Tiffany Xiao
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