Student Voice


July 12, 2024

Students, faculty petition against custodian outsourcing

April 22, 2022

Award-winning journalism

This article won third place in public affairs reporting in the 2022 Collegiate Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation. Read more

Students, parents and faculty have shown little support for outsourcing custodial services on the UW-River Falls campus. On Monday, April 11, a group of around 40 people marched into the chancellor’s office in North Hall to protest the possibility of this outsourcing becoming a reality.

The group was led by faculty and students as they gathered outside of the building to discuss the importance of what they were going to do. A variety of perspectives were brought up, including that those on the custodial staff had endured a lot through the pandemic. Custodial staff could not social distance away from the buildings and spaces during the heat of the pandemic and instead were tasked to clean places people were occupying to try to keep them safe.

Alexander Al-Najim, the Student Government Association director of academic affairs and student success, spoke to the work custodial staff has done throughout the pandemic.

“They got us through COVID-19, they put themselves at risk for our safety, and now it’s time that we show them support to ensure our campus is safe and that they receive their benefits still,” he said.

Students and faculty marched into North Hall with a petition signed by a total of 887 people. Al-Najim said, “Over 500 signatures of the 800 signatures for the petition were students, showing that our students value safety and community. This is not only about ensuring our community but also our safety here on campus.”

Faculty at the march expressed a multitude of appreciation for students' participation in making these big things happen. 

Student Government Association President Brigette Ledferd said about the march that occurred, “The University of Wisconsin-River Falls values community. We care about each other and these are real people, living real lives, with real families. It was a great show of support today to have all of the faculty, staff, and students here opposing outsourcing. We care about each other.” 

A research committee presented its findings to Chancellor Gallo and staff on April 15. The chancellor will be making a decision on the matter some time prior to the first of May.