COC custodians are constantly faced with daily bombardments of graffiti and vandalism — caused by the very students who pay them through their tuition — forcing them to leave simple things like cleaning a water fountain unattended.
COC spends an estimated $200,000-$300,000 each year on just the vandalism and maintenance needs mostly caused by COC students.
It’s to the point where the staff is asking students for help in catching the few responsible.
They suspect one or two individuals are the vandals responsible for the repeated offenses of tagging the word “DEAD” all over bathroom stalls and walls.
COC has sent out an email to students informing them of a reward for the information that leads to the arrest of these vandals.
“Everyday we’re under siege almost,” said Jason Muñoz, the facilities manager. “Thats why some things can fall behind sometimes. Even though that’s not an excuse, it’s just a constant battle. If we didn’t have the vandalism daily it would free up the guys to do their jobs more.”
The demand for maintenance seems to outweigh the capability.
“Its like a service level,” said Carl R. Ebaugh, the director of central energy systems and regulatory compliance. “We’re staffed to give you a [certain] service.
From t-shirts to coffee thermoses, and from deodorant sticks to thermostats freshly ripped off of walls, unusual items like these have been found and unclogged from toilets.
Not too long ago a broken toilet was reported in Mentry Hall, making it one of the many already broken through the semester.
“We have our maintenance issues that we know are coming and then we have the torn up bathroom that’s hazardous like last week,” said Muñoz. ” We didn’t know that was gonna cost us $2,500.”
Last year there were four toilet replacements after they were mysteriously broken and ripped off of the walls of both Hasley and Mentry Hall. Assuming they each cost $2,500, the school spent an estimated $10,000 on the broken toilets alone.
Actual replacement time varies, sometimes days and sometimes weeks. People then complain about the bathrooms being closed while workers try to explain their daily battles.
“As soon as the broken toilet is fixed the just-unclogged toilet from upstairs now has graffiti on the walls, ” said Muñoz. “Everyday there is a new bathroom and a new problem that we address. People don’t understand that it’s everyday.”
Two new refrigerated water fountains have been replaced this year in the P.E. area after getting “kicked to crap” said Muñoz. Administration said they will use a cheaper replacement of just regular water fountains if it were to occur a second time.
It takes $700 or more to replace a damaged water fountain, depending on the amount of renovations needed, like dry wall replacement, pipe replacement, etc., and the type of the water fountain itself.
Some students won’t even use the water fountains most of the time, because they’re seen with the occasional loogie and chewed gum. Who knows what else they’re spitting in there?
“What we’re fighting is that it’s really changed these past few years.There’s a lot of you that do [your part]. But if we can get those that don’t to change their thinking, then it would help us help you guys and have more money to do cool things,” said Muñoz. “It’s interesting to find the fact that the students are shooting themselves in the foot without even knowing it.”
If there wasn’t so much vandalism, there would be more money for improvements.
For example, the Associated Student Government, or ASG, has four or five Water Bottle Filling Stations, which are also water fountains, in the process of being introduced to the COC Valencia Campus.
Their listed price on the internet is $1,612.
ASG will be deciding the location of these Water Bottle Filling Stations soon.