By Phil McMullin
In 1850, a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis told the Vienna Medical Society that hand-washing could prevent the spread of infection. Yet, 165 years later, there is still no soap in most of the dormitory bathrooms of FSU.
Of course, there is hand sanitizer in the bathrooms, but the CDC has reported that hand sanitizer should not be used as a replacement for soap.
At an open forum, the administration addressed a student’s concern about this issue.
Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct Glenn Cochran said the administration had crunched the numbers and decided soap was too expensive, and that the University’s money was better spent elsewhere.
Associate Vice President of Facilities and Capital Planning Warren Fairbanks said the administration is not legally required by the state to provide soap for students, since the dorms are categorized as apartment buildings.
Fairbanks continued to say that installing soap dispensers and replacing the soap was a “man-power” issue for the University. He added that the hand sanitizer dispensers are easier to maintain because they dispense a smaller amount of product. Maintaining soap-dispensers is apparently an overwhelming task for our facilities department.
This seems like a strange response, since soap is an incredibly common and frequently used item in most buildings in our society, and maintenance crews nationally seem to be able to handle the task.
Cochran and Fairbanks may be correct. Maybe soap is difficult to pay for and maintain. However, there are certain commodities that should be considered common-sense necessities for densely populated areas of people.
It is difficult to argue that soap, the most effective way to prevent the spread of viruses in our
community, is not a necessity.
The administration needs to act in the best interest of students and coordinate a way to fund the installation of soap dispensers in every bathroom on campus. This would help slow the spread of viruses throughout our community, which would not only save students medical expenses, but also stop students from having to miss class.
If there is currently no room in the budget, room needs to be made. When prioritizing administrative costs, there is nothing more important than protecting the health and wellbeing of students.