Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Casa and Black House without washers and dryers, residents ask for updated facilities in houses

<ny Bobo ’20 and Daamir Robinson ’20, residents of the African-American cultural interest community called Freedom or Black House, have been advocating since last fall for the ability to do laundry without braving sub-zero temperatures to find a machine.

 Freedom residents, along with students living in Casa del Sol, the Latinx interest community share laundry machines with residents of Stimson House, the Office of Intercultural and International Life (OIIL) interest community residence. Providing laundry machines in these two houses has recently gained traction as one of the demands of campus activist group Carls Talk Back.

“From our understanding, Casa and Black are the only two houses on campus without washers and dryers,” Robinson said.
“At least if we were all in one building it would be easier to navigate, or map out, but when you have people from three different locations coming together,” Bobo said, “it’s really hard.”

Bobo and Robinson’s efforts brought them both to the office of Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston.

“We both have talked to her on separate occasions,” Bobo said. “[And to] Michael Hodges in the OIIL office, as well as Brisa [Zubia] in the OIIL office, and other students. I know my area director, Gina Wilson; I talked to her about it.”

“Nobody really knows who to pinpoint to talk to,” Bobo said.

Despite the confusion, conversations with Dean Livingston eventually pointed Bobo and Robinson towards a potential solution: change the house’s coding.

But, said Bobo, “there’s just not a lot of transparency about how we can even go about getting new coding.”

The cultural interest houses—ASIA house, Freedom House and Casa del Sol—are some of the oldest buildings on campus. “Even if you were to try to get the coding changed, the house is so old and the plumbing is so old,” said Robinson. “So trying to put new things in it wouldn’t necessarily be the best option.”

According to Maintenance Manager Mitch Miller, building codes in Carleton’s houses only limit that laundry machines must be installed in basements—meaning that Freedom and Casa do not need to change their coding. There likely aren’t machines in the houses because the issue had previously not been brought up to Facilities.

“We can find no record of anyone asking Facilities for machines in Hunt Cottage or Williams House,” Miller wrote in email correspondence with the Carletonian, referring to the official names of the two houses.

Bobo and Robinson added that the Carleton administration has also cited funding as a cause for the lack of laundry machines—but laundry equipment, said Miller, is self-funding.


“The users’ fees pay for the equipment and maintenance,” he said.

“We know from last year that that was a big grievance from the residents.” said Robinson. “I was just sitting in the OIIL office a while ago, and one of the seniors who was there, she just randomly brought it up. She was like, ‘people have been complaining about that since my sophomore year.’”

Beyond the inconvenience of not having a washer and dryer in their house, Bobo and Robinson are frustrated with the lack of transparency about it.

The two spent time with the house’s previous residents their freshman year and were well aware of the laundry machine situation before they applied to live there, said Bobo.

“I don’t want to keep this going on, but if this is something that is true,” said Bobo, “it should be transparent to students when they apply.”

“But as a freshman that sees, ‘oh, this is a community for people that look like me, that identify with me,’” she added, “[maybe] that’s not something they know is a part of it, but they’re paying the same thing” as all other students on campus.

Robinson agreed. He hopes Carleton’s administration will communicate with students, and “mak[e] sure it’s something that we feel is a priority.”

Recently, campus offices have started looking towards a solution.

Miller said that Facilities staff is “looking into the possibility of installing them [laundry machines],” now that the issue has been brought to their attention.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *