Of Maids and Men
When union president Daniel G. Mulvihill requested another wage increase for University maids, he did not expect to touch off a purge of gracious living. But the University immediately announced its favor toward the Tech plan of a porter service, of, by, and for the students. The traditional Harvard maid was dusting on towards extinction.
There are many who believe that the possible service revision is no more than a threat to allay further demands by the University Employees' Representative Association. But the proposal has been given serious consideration in House as well as administrative circles. M.I.T.'s system--with paid students cleaning every day and making beds once a week--has received favorable comment at Harvard for the past six months.
The personal bed-making prospect would only become a reality if the College followed the Tech plan completely, but details have yet to be considered. Yet a loss of gracious sleeping appears well out-weighed by arguments in favor of the student porter.
Most important, any new means of supplying, in effect, a free room to a financially insecure student is commendable. And it is better to have the necessary work closer at hand than are many of the jobs offered by the Office of Student Employment. Also, avoidance of a room rent increase, entailed in retaining the maids, would be a benefit to all students. The problem of a time schedule for daily cleaning work could certainly be solved to the convenience of the individual worker.
The question of a growth of class distinction between bed-owner and bed-maker is only a trivial one; it would be important to the small minority that believes working for an education to be an evil. No castes have been noticed at M.I.T.
Loss of the 9 a.m. cheeriness and relatively conscientious work of the maids is an unhappy prospect. But keeping the money in the family can make it worth the experiment.