Letter to the Editor

The article “Blaming the Janitor,” (The Vanguard, April 23,2004) was written in a biased way that could help sway opinionsabout PHC’s services in light of the upcoming contract due forrenegotiation in June.

I am astounded at the very basic factual errors that are made inthis article. You stated that PHC employs only people withdisabilities and that “drug users are not turned away,” listingdrug abuse as a disability.

PHC is required to have 75% or more of its workforce made up ofdisabled people. Drug abuse in itself is not a disability and thestatement that “backed up” the conclusion you jumped to regardingnot turning away drug users was a reference to recovering addicts.A recovering addict is very different from a current drug user.

What is presented as absenteeism is a result of chronicallyoperating with a skeleton crew. PHC probably has a slightly higherrate of absenteeism due to [worker’s] disabilities and constantlyworking in a higher health risk environment. However, PHC can onlyprovide as many workers as PSU pays for via their contract.

On a personal note, I felt offended by your article, especiallythe insinuation that being disabled makes me unfit for janitorialwork.

You can’t tell by watching me push my barrel down the hall thatmy hobby is building a wearable computer or that I will beattending PCC this fall after hungering for PSU classes for overfive years. People often look shocked when they find out that Ifall outside their expectations of a janitor. They wonder why I dothis for work, as if all those who are capable of moreautomatically become assigned higher-status jobs.

Aside from the lack of funds to attend school, my answer is thatI love working at PSU and wish to stay as long as possible.

I ask you to look thoroughly at the solution being proposed inthis article. Supplementing PHC’s service with student labor wouldachieve nothing more than lowering operating expenses for PSU.There would be higher turnover, less accountability, and PSU wouldreceive exactly the amount of service it is paying for, which wouldmaintain our current dissatisfactory status quo.

Thank you,

Karina Weigel

Dayshift janitor