By Abby Wargo
The housekeeping services at Washington College will no longer be managed by the school. Instead, the higher education janitorial service SSC Service Solutions will be taking over housekeeping duties beginning Feb. 1. They will provide management and supervisory staff, additional housekeeping staff, equipment, supplies, and materials, according to a statement made by President Kurt Landgraf last Wednesday.
According to Landgraf, this change is one of many the administration made in January, designed to make the campus more efficient and improve recruitment and the experience of current students.
This switch is the latest move in an attempt to alleviate the College’s multi-million-dollar shortfall that was reported last year.
Last semester, housekeeping was supplemented with help from CJ Maintenance, which brought six to seven people to work part time cleaning at the College. Now, the entire department has been contracted to an outside company.
Current housekeeping staff will have the opportunity to switch to SSC and continue working at WC under the new management. Some are “not happy” about the change, however, according to housekeeper Holly Rippel.
“We enjoy our jobs, and I enjoy being with the kids, and I feel if they bring in other people, they’re not going to take care of the building and the kids the way we do, because they’re going to be like total strangers,” Rippel said.
Housekeepers were first alerted to the possibility of the change in November, although not much information was given to them, leaving many uncertain about the switch. Rippel said that she was unsure if she should begin looking for employment elsewhere.
“Some of these women have 25 to 30 years in here,” she said. “I know a couple of them don’t have high school diplomas. If they leave, where are they going to go? Every place wants you to have a high school diploma nowadays.”
While some housekeepers, like Rippel, will stay on with the new company, others are leaving WC to seek employment elsewhere.
“I’m going to be transferring and praying for the best. Not very happy about it. I feel like I won’t be a part of the family no more,” Rippel said.