The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Mysterious clean-up notes concern Comm. Studies

Several faculty members in the Communication Studies Department were surprised nearly over a week ago to find notes in their offices from custodial workers, informing them their rooms would only be cleaned once a week, a department official said.

The notes were handwritten on half sheets of yellow paper and left behind in many of the third-floor faculty offices of the Communication Studies Department in Manzanita Hall, said Yolanda Avila, administrative support coordinator of the department

Communication Studies professors went into their department and voiced concerns about the content of the notes, Avila said.

“I had a lot of the full-time faculty professors coming in, concerned about the notes left behind. They wanted to know what was going on, and why they had received these handwritten notes,” Avila said. “It was all very odd.”

“The notes were handwritten and looked unofficial, but said something like ‘for your information, your offices will only be cleaned once a week,’ ” she said.

A custodial worker said custodians were given orders to leave notes throughout the Communication Studies Department.

“We were told to leave the notes in the offices after we are done cleaning,” said a custodial worker, who asked to remain anonymous.

The notes left in the offices were not addressed to anyone specifically, and were not signed by any individual, Avila said. She said the writer or writers of notes wrote they were from “The Crew.”

The notes were likely a response from custodial workers to “Please clean offices” signs often taped to the doors by faculty members, said Tom Brown, executive director of the Physical Plant Management.

“It is a terrible form of communication,” Brown said, regarding the handwritten notes. “But I’m sure there were the best of intentions behind it. It was a unique situation, where there was some miscommunication, but no other departments or buildings were affected by it.”

Avila said she contacted Wes Dodrill, manager of Facilities Services at Manzanita Hall, about the notes, who said he would investigate the matter.

“He said it was miscommunication on their part, and that we should disregard the notes,” she said.

Dodrill said Facilities Services has a good relationship with the Communication Studies Department.

“As soon as I was notified by Yolie (Avila) of the notes, I took care of the situation,” Dodrill said. “I let her know it was a mistake.”

Dodrill, who has been working at CSUN for five years, said his custodial crew does all it can to provide services to the department.

“We do everything from hanging the plaques to making sure everything is clean,” he said. “Our crew works hard and we try to provide the best service we can.”

Brown said although the notes were a poor way of communicating with the faculty, faculty offices cleaned on a daily basis.

“We have a list of priorities and efforts that we must focus on in maintaining the entire campus,” Brown said.

PPM prioritizes its workload into four categories, according to its website.

PPM’s first stated priority is to maintain the common areas, such as restrooms, entrances, hallways, and stairwells. The second is maintaining laboratories and classrooms. The third is to maintain open and public offices, and the fourth priority listed is to maintain faculty and staff offices.

“We’re not a bureaucracy, and we’re doing the most good we can, with the limited amount of resources we have,” Brown said.

About 100 custodial workers provide service to CSUN’s 356 acres.

“That’s why we have to establish priorities,” Brown said, regarding the custodial services PPM is able to provide.

He said faculty offices receive weekly services that include emptying trashcans; light dusting of surfaces; sweeping; mopping or vacuuming; and spot cleaning walls.

“It does not say that faculty offices receive daily service,” Brown said.

He said about 1,900 faculty members teach at CSUN. Brown said while he recognizes that custodial services are needed daily, currently they cannot provide all the services everyone would like, adding that PPM is trying to follow prudent guidelines.

Currently, the PPM has people working “almost 24 hours a day,” Brown said.

PPM has different shifts for the different responsibilities, but generally custodial workers start at 3:00 a.m. for the first shift of the day to ensure that the buildings are safe and clean for that day, he said.

PPM does recognize, however, that not having trash removed on a daily basis could be a problem to some, Brown said.

With their limited resources and high demand, Dodrill said if faculty and custodial workers work together, both could assure that the buildings and offices are well-maintained.

As for the handwritten notes the circulated last week, “We admit to our errors when we have them,” Brown said.

“We apologize to our customers that we can’t always do better for all,” Brown said. “We didn’t handle the situation well, but there was no malice on our part.”

Sandy Archila can be reached at

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