The men and women who work long, tedious hours to keep the university classrooms, dormitories and restrooms clean deserve a salary raise.
The job of a Texas State custodian is hard and demanding, but extremely necessary. In spite of their strong work ethic and the significance of the job, custodians at Texas State are not compensated enough.
According to The Texas Tribune’s data application on government employee salaries, the median annual pay for a custodian at Texas State as of May 2011 was $23,992. This sum isn’t adequate enough and doesn’t represent the hard work of university custodians.
The current median salary of Texas State custodians is too low for the work they perform daily. The early shifts begin at 5 a.m. and continue until the afternoon. Throughout the day, custodians clean and sweep the classrooms and facilities. They are even brave enough to venture into the unfortunate place that is a college restroom. As with many jobs, custodians handle and solve many difficult challenges. Custodians should receive greater compensation for facing these challenges.
Furthermore, the current custodian salary is not sufficient enough to provide a good standard of living in Hays County. The Living Wage Calculator, implemented by Amy Glasmeier and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reveals the living wage estimate of one adult and child in Hays County equals more than $40,000. The median Texas State custodian salary of $23,992 is well below the living wage estimate. In addition, even the highest reported custodian salary of $29,200 is not enough to properly support a family. Texas State custodians deserve to make more than these insufficient wages.
Our custodians have to cope with the growth of the university. The Texas State student population continues to grow, but the number of custodians remains stagnant. The unbalanced ratio between students and custodians is becoming more apparent, according to a Nov. 30, 2011 University Star article. According to the same article, the university added 3,310 students while the number of custodians, shy of 100, remained the same. This growth caused the department of custodial services to increase their responsibilities. The increase in responsibilities should be followed by greater compensation. Custodians pull together and get their work done. As the beneficiary of their hard work, the rest of the university must also pull together and give a little more back.
Theodore Roosevelt once said there is no pity in doing hard work, but only admiration. The work our Texas State custodians perform is difficult. Many students know how hard custodians work and admire them for it. In turn, students should resolve, through their organizations and the Associated Student Government, to make custodian salaries reflect Texas State’s deep admiration for their hard work.
—Christian Penichet-Paul is a history junior.