Public Employee Press
Bklyn College student flunks R-E-S-P-E-C-T
By JANE LaTOUR
Brooklyn College has a problem Mike Usher an angry young
man who writes a column for the student newspaper, The Excelsior. Usher
has a lot of problems, starting with a foul mouth. His education is evidently
inadequate, since he has never learned to respect the dignity of work
or seek both sides of a story. Yet the school lets him use his column
to hurt others with inflammatory insults.
Last semester, Mr. Usher targeted the school custodians, who are members
of Local 1597. Mr. Usher wrote: I want the bathroom custodians at
BC to get castrated with dull rusty hedge clippers.
He goes on to refer to the people who keep the campus buildings clean
as completely nasty bastards, aholes, losers,
insipid morons, and pretentious csuckers.
His grievance? Custodians close off bathrooms they are cleaning to prevent
slips and spills on the wet floors. He counsels students to: Pee
in their bucket, its their job to clean, its our RIGHT to
Local 1597 President Edna Williams immediately fired off a letter to The
Excelsior. She wrote: You allowed Mike Usher to engage in an arrogant,
disrespectful rant about the hard-working, dedicated Custodial Assistants.
Brooklyn College President Chris Kimmich also expressed his dismay: Brooklyn
College prides itself on being a community guided by courtesy and respect.
Students, faculty and staff have expressed their outrage at the views
expressed in the column. It is clear that his opinions do not reflect
those of the college community who acknowledge and appreciate the work
of the men and women to whom we have entrusted the maintenance and custody
of our beautiful campus.
The Custodial Assistants are very offended, said Local 1597
Shop Steward Rafael Perez. Who is he to slander us for doing this
For Custodian Mohammad Herbin, The attack seemed very personal.
The job is difficult. I wish he could understand. There are 16 bathrooms
in the building I work in. I really cant understand why he feels
he has to come and use the one thats being cleaned.
I didnt appreciate it at all, said Custodial Assistant
Dawn Rasberry. Its not freedom of speech when you slander
and threaten people. How do you get away with saying castrate people?
Custodian Shah Adil pointed out, Weve worked in this building
for a long time and have received no complaints. Mike Usher put out a
lot of garbage, and we feel insulted.
Custodian Marins Mitto has been on the job for 18 years. I love
my job, she emphasized. He put a little dent in that. He tried
to make it seem that we have no pride. I have pride in what I do. I have
no shame. Its my job and its not an easy job.
Members of Local 1597 and other DC 37 locals do the cleaning and landscaping
that brought BC a first-place ranking last year for the beauty of its
campus. Perhaps they should also wash Mike Ushers mouth out with