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(U-WIRE) NEW HAVEN, Conn.--For the last 10 years, it has been difficult for Yale's lux to penetrate its dark gothic chambers.
In 1987, in its ongoing effort to make budget cuts, the University decided to cut most of its window-cleaning services. Yale's windows are especially difficult to clean because of their unusual construction--windows are often double-paned, divided and have intricate stained-glass designs. Individual windows take between one and five minutes to clean, Residential College Custodial Services Supervisor Carlos Mercado said.
In Lanman-Wright Hall, dirt on some windows completely obscures buildings across narrow streets when the sun shines through.
"The windows in my room are so dirty they make the brightest day seem like the blackest night," said Lanman-Wright resident Ian Doescher.
The difficulty of cleaning Yale's curved, garret and bay windows often requires scaffolding. Partly because of the heroic efforts window-cleaning requires, the New Haven university slashed the frequency of its window-cleanings, which usually occur during the summer when few students are on-campus to avoid disruptions.
But when asked whether the savings justified the grime, Doescher, a sophomore, replied, "I think that's a load of whatever's on my windows,"
President of the Local 35 Union Bob Proto also diputes the claim that Yale can't afford to clean windows.
"They can cook the books when they want to and create a deficit. They are creating a mind set in which people do not expect custodial services," he said.
Many students said they didn't notice dirt on their windows, and said they were disturbed more by the windows' tiny size, which let little light into their medieval-style rooms.
"I thought Windows '97 was coming out next year," Thomas Chi '99 said.
Proto said he thinks Yale students deserve the quality of life that an extra "two or three" custodial workers in every college would provide.
"The University should raise the standard of cleanliness across the board. It's a matter of having an environment equivalent to the tuition payments," Proto said.
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