A group of academics and students have charged in articles and on Twitter that Dorm Crew — a Harvard College program in which undergraduates clean other students’ bathrooms for pay — is demeaning to the students who participate in it.
Harvard Dorm Crew plans to shorten its work day and include extra advising sessions in its Fall Clean-Up schedule next semester.
These maids, alternatively monikered “sweeps,” “biddies,” (a diminutive for the name Bridget that became a colloquial name for a maid) and “goodies,” were considered a staple of the Harvard College experience. In late 1950, university officials anticipated that the maids would soon demand higher wages and proposed the more economical Student Porter Program.
Dorm Crew has implemented a more generous pay schedule this fall and offered dinners during its pre-orientation program for the first time, following suggestions from an employee survey and criticisms in the College’s report on diversity and inclusion.
Harvard Dorm Crew is a division of Facilities Maintenance Operations and employs scores of students to perform custodial jobs for on-campus housing. The students running this massive operation are no strangers to surprise. The cleaning teams have tackled everything from giant messes to bizarre left-behind possessions. After the mass exodus of students at the start of summer, dorm crew employees remain at Harvard to clean out the newly vacated rooms. It’s a chance to see the school in a whole new light, and catch glimpses of student lives from Mather to the Quad. It’s also a chance to find some crazy stuff.
The interuniversity trade routes between Yale and Harvard opened earlier this month by the proclamation of CS50’s export to Yale College, which is in Connecticut. This is no small step. CS50 is the best bioweapon we have engineered. With its t-shirts and free stuff, we are hopeful that it will divide the Yale campus into two groups: those who wear the “I took CS50” T-shirts, and those who do not. But this export should not be the last one by any means. FM considers other authentic items that Harvard has to offer to this time-honored rival for its betterment:
You may have noticed that when Dorm Crew workers clean a bathroom, they leave behind a post-it note inviting feedback in the form of questions, complaints, or compliments. Nineteen years ago today, on Feb. 9, 1993, a certain Lowell House blocking group sent a compliment in to Dorm Crew. If you look closely at the seventh name on the letter, you'll see that it was signed by one "Matthew Damon," aka notable celebrity dropout Matt P. Damon (formerly '92). Even before the days of email, students still managed to express their opinions, often in the form of letters, some of which can be found in Dorm Crew's records.