Kent State custodians find everything and anything

Kelly Cothren

William Corcoran Jr. works in the house keeping department of the Student Center yesterday, wiping down tables, taking out the trash and reorganizing chairs. Corcoran keeps on working until his shift is complete. LAUREN ANDERSON | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

When the students and faculty leave the buildings each night, the custodians come in and deal with the mess left behind. The mess is anything but usual. For example:


“The other day I found torn up paper scattered all over the floor,” custodian Linda Mitchell said. “It was like someone just sat there all class, ripping paper up in small pieces, just so we would have to take the time to clean it up.”

Another constant nuisance to custodians is the Daily Kent Stater. Sometimes they cannot see the floor because of all the newspapers students leave behind.


There are always food wrappers, bottles of spit from tobacco chew, coffee cups, notebooks and empty bottles of beer scattered on the floors.

“There are always bottles of chew spit sitting around,” housekeeping supervisor Cindy Gary said. “It is really disgusting, especially when they spit it in the drinking fountains.”

Valuable items

FlashCards, wallets, jackets, sweatshirts, umbrellas and coffee mugs are left behind in the trash.

“We find loads and loads of car mugs,” Mitchell said. “We find Starbucks ones all the time, and I know those are expensive.”


Since there is no way for the custodians to know the owner, the custodians have started keeping the change in a money fund. They decide, as a group, what to use the money for.

“One of the custodians just recently bought a washing machine, and we used the money fund to help pay with that,” Mitchell said.

Custodial facts

Each shift:

• 90 personnel split up in a two shift operation (60 workers for night shift)

• 6,000 trash cans emptied

• 960 toilets cleaned

• 400 urinals cleaned

• 1,920 toilet paper holders serviced

• 520 paper towel holders serviced

• 740 sinks cleaned

• 600 soap dispensers serviced

• 100 showers cleaned

• 260 large (44 gallon) trash bags of refuse removed from buildings

• 25,000 square feet of cleaning in 48 buildings



Love and other notes

“One custodian found a very juicy diary one time cleaning,” Norm Kinney said. “It was full of stuff I am sure her mom didn’t know about.”

When custodial services manager John Walsh used to be a custodian, he found a letter that looked like it was written in another language. He turned it in and found out it was a gang letter that told a story. It ended up helping police deal with a gang problem at Kent State.

Sex tales

Kinney and Mitchell have found empty boxes of fruit flavor condoms and pornographic magazines.

“When I went to clean a classroom, I found a tall stack of porn magazines sitting next to the recycling bin,” Kinney said.

Naked truth

Housekeeping supervisor Greg Evans said he used to find women’s underwear on a regular basis.

“What I would really like to know is who is running around without any clothes on,” Kinney said.

The messy faculty

Faculty members are not much better than their students.

“Some of the offices are so cluttered that you can barely open the door. Then there is only a narrow path from the door to their desk,” Kinney said. “Some professors even change to go workout and leave all their clothes on the floor.”

The mess students and faculty leave behind may be amusing, but it is a problem because it restricts the custodian staff from doing its job completely.

“When we have to spend time cleaning up messes left by students and faculty, something somewhere else gets neglected,” Kinney said.

Contact building and grounds reporter Kelly Cothren at [email protected].