News and Analysis

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:54 a.m.

University fines students $225,000 for untidy rooms

About 900 students were charged a fee this year for leaving behind messy rooms during move-out from last year. This is a 200-student uptick from last year, which Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel said shows students are choosing to pay rather than clean. Ashley Lucas | Contributing Photo Editor

The University billed nearly 900 students a total of about $225,000 for not cleaning their rooms before moving out of residence halls this year.

Students were charged GW Housing Program’s $250 broom clean fee, a much-maligned charge implemented last year for rooms that require more cleaning than just the sweep of a broom.

Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel said the 200-person jump from last year is the result of students’ disregard for a clean move-out.

“I think that in year two of the broom clean fees, some students made a choice to pay the fee instead of leaving their room in a broom clean condition,” Weinshel said.

The fees’ revenue totaled about $225,000 a $50,000 increase from last year that will be used to cover costs of the additional cleaning.

Ivory Tower and South Hall, both upperclassmen residence halls, saw the greatest number of untidy rooms, he added.

About 200 students appealed the broom clean fee both this year and last year, Weinshel said.

  • Ridiculous

    My room mate and I were charged 400 dollars each for “Damaged Furniture,” but we weren’t given any more details than that. I know none of the furniture in our room was broken, and I’m not going to pay 400 dollars for something I didn’t do, so I have been calling housing for the last two weeks trying to appeal it and figure out why specifically we are getting charged. The people at housing say they can’t access the details of my charge because of the large call volume. (Maybe you wouldn’t have so many calls if you weren’t charging people over $200,000 in fines and not telling them why…)

    If I don’t pay the fine by June 30th, I get slapped with a late fee. Someone I talked to at housing told me the best thing I could do to avoid any late fees is pay the fine anyways, and then if my appeal is successful they will give me my money back. Are you SERIOUS? I’m not paying anything until you tell me WHY I have to pay!

    This is absolutely absurd, I can’t believe GW Housing is getting away with charging people this much money.

  • JMG

    The thing is, the university should not be charging members of the SA.

  • No Way…

    That exact same situation happened to me and my roommate. What the hell is going on with the housing department? It is the most disfunctional department at GW, and I won’t pay another single dime to them until they answer my questions as well. Absolutely ridiculous…

  • BS

    Same thing happened here. My roommate and I were charged $815 in total and all the email said was “FURNITURE.” We called numerous times and got no answers at all. If we don’t win our appeal, I can guarantee you we won’t be paying the bill without putting up a fight.

    The funniest part was that we lived in City Hall. That place was so disgusting that I’m pretty sure bulldozing the whole thing wouldn’t have amounted to $815 of damage.

  • cb

    it’s not the classes at gw that prepare you for real life, it’s the bureaucracy and red tape. might as well get used to it now before 20 years down the road you’re yelling at your roofer for overcharging you on some shingles.

  • Here’s what happens…

    At the end of the year, house staff is sent around campus to make sure people have moved themselves and their stuff out. They are supposed to take pictures of any damage and any part of a room that isn’t broom clean. Most of them don’t want to be there and let most things slide, unless their boss is following them around making them document EVERYTHING. With all the info they receive, housing/CSE then makes the initial decision of whether or not to charge a room. When it’s cleaned, they make another decision. As we already knew, they are trigger happy (and money hungry) so maybe we should just clean up after ourselves and take extra steps to cut the drama.

  • Maximilien R.

    There was an Onion article a few weeks ago called “Wealthy Teen Nearly Experiences Consequence”. Though that paper is written as satire, it eerily reminded me of GW kids and the amount they’re willing to complain to they don’t face the consequences for the things that were probably their fault to begin with. I’d stop blaming the system (completely) and in the future learn to be more conscientious of others; The conditions these rooms were left in blatantly shows everyone that a lot of GW kids are pompous spoiled brats by saying “oh I’ll just not clean and pay the fine”.

  • A thought

    In the book “Freakonomics” there was a section which talked about a day care that began charging for late pickups. As soon as the fine was introduced, the amount of late pickups increased sharply rather than decreasing. The idea there, and here, is that people no longer feel bad about someone cleaning up their mess when they’re paying someone to do it.

    I think that your tone in, “…is the result of students’ disregard for a clean move-out,” is a bit abrasive and accusatory. Regardless of the fact that this charge is likely not being paid by the students, it’s still just paying for a service at GW like any other.

    Just something to consider.

  • how much money can we get out of you even after you’re gone…

    I think that since last year was the first year this “broom-clean” initiative was put in place, students and faculty alike from GW Housing were a little more lenient on who got charged. A couple things left in the big deal. From my understanding, this year, Housing was significantly more strict on the specifications regarding this charge, so you may very well have gotten a $250 fee when you forgot a couple of items in the freezer.
    Also, I know personally of 4 graduated seniors (in separate housing assignments) who got charged and appealed each one because the charges were completely falsified and ridiculous. There was NO damage to their rooms and NO trash left behind. Clearly, GW tries to charge as many people as possible hoping that a good number of them will give up the appeal process and simply pay the $250 to get GW off their back and finally be rid of this money-grubbing school.
    I think in year 2 of the broom-clean initiative, GW had a much more blatant disregard for discretion regarding cleanliness of rooms.
    In this sense, I wonder how much money GW makes each year off of these people who are falsely charged, yet pay (or have parents pay) the $250 anyway so as not to go through the lengthy, complicated, unhelpful appeal process.

  • Do you want room clean or $

    If the University was truly interested in the rooms being cleaned before move out they would have a process in which someone in “authority” approved the room before the students could turn in their key as is done on many campuses. It’s just another one of GW’s “warm and friendly” gestures to try to make money off of it’s students and expose them to the mean streets of DC.

  • 09 alum

    i didn’t get stuck with a room clean fee, but when i moved out, less than two weeks later I got billed for a “hole in the wall” and since I KNOW there wasn’t a hole in the wall when i left, i asked (since i was still in DC) if they could show me where it was. They said they couldn’t because it had been fixed already. 1)how did ANYTHING at GW get fixed in under 2 weeks (it was literally, 7 business days) and 2)it was in CITY HALL where i’m 99.99% sure they don’t make the wallpaper for it anymore, so unless they completely re-wallpapered the entire room, there would have been a VERY noticeable difference. They said they would not remove the charge and that there was nothing I could do about it. So to ensure that i could actually graduate and receive my diploma, i paid the repair fee after SEVERAL attempts to get the charge removed. SOMEONE needs to be held accountable. How about every time something like this will incur a fee, they 1)provide photographic evidence and 2)allow the student the opportunity to fix things themselves (whether that means coming back to sweep the room themselves or use their super awesome crafty skills to fix the hole.) seriously, 3 years later i’m still sure i got screwed for some extra money.

  • Pissed Off

    My parents and I had to clean my room during move in for 5 hours to get the vomit and hair out of the bathroom, food out of the kitchen, clean the sticky (and terribly disgusting carpets) and make it at least livable. Not to mention the numerous holes in the wall. The room as I left it was leagues cleaner, in fact better than broom clean and yet they charged me and my roommate 250 each.

    GW Housing are thieves and provide shit rooms to begin with. I got severely sick twice due to the living conditions of two different dorms once due to mold. How would they like it if they were sued for crap accommodations? or if we paid less money because they didn’t make the room livable before I paid 13,000 to live in it!

  • House Staff

    As someone who was part of house staff, we have to go around before the 21st and check rooms. I know I barely cared, and I don’t know of any other staff members that did either. Where most of this comes from is rooms where you move out after the 20th. House staff are gone by then and summer staff of housing and RPM check the rooms. Those people are the ones that go crazy and write up stuff that doesn’t exist.

    APPEAL! Housing will drop it, cause they are lazy and half the time don’t even have the pictures.

  • Shame on you GW Housing Team

    My husband and I personally assisted my daughter clean prior to leaving City Hall. We appealed the fine and were denied. Shame on you GW Housing department for ripping off hard working parents and students. The Housing Director and his team need to seriously get a grip on reality. They should be held accountable for incompetence and fraud !!!

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