There were three cockroach sightings within the University Student Union food court in February.
Fresno State students posted photos and videos on the Fresno State Book & Trade Advice Facebook page of cockroaches inside drinks, on top of tables and on top of the cookie case in the USU food court.
Colin Stewart, associate dean of students, said cockroaches have been sighted in the USU food court and that the building meets health code requirements.
“We don’t meet the minimum, we go above the standards,” he said.
Fresno State student Alex Bonilla posted two photos showing a roach inside the drink that he said he had just finished.
Bonilla’s post said, “Be careful everyone I got this from downstairs of USU. Once I finished my drink, I wanted to eat the ice and found this in my cup. Keep in mind this isn’t the first time this has happened.”
Fresno State student Sunny M. N. Xiong shared a similar experience, stating, “Same! Just two days ago, I got ice and saw a roach in it as well!”
Two days later, Fresno State student Yareli Arroyo posted a video showing a live roach eating from her used napkin on the table where she ate.
“Was just chilling in the USU, and this little guy came out of nowhere Wth?? Makes me pretty uneasy getting food here,” said Arroyo.
Arroyo’s post sparked debates amongst group members regarding the influx of roaches and who is to blame for the conditions on campus.
“Some might say, ‘Well there are janitors that clean.’ There are, but it’s also students’ responsibility to clean where they eat or be a leader to pick up a piece of trash,” said Fresno State student Martha Salinas.
Some users were quick to disregard the issue as a one-off situation that happens anywhere.
“There have been multiple incidents actually,” said Arroyo.
“The staff was made aware of the issue via [Bonilla’s] Facebook post and acted quickly to address the issue,” Stewart said. “Administrative officials were unaware of Arroyo’s Facebook post.”
USU custodial supervisor Victor Rubio said, “We do clean the food court, but we do not touch, move or add any type of product to any dispenser or display.”
Professor and chair of the department of food science and nutrition Steven Pao said, “Sometimes insects can accidentally get into a food facility through doors for workers or customers or pass-thru window service openings. The reality is that a good pest control program can largely reduce but not necessarily eliminate this problem.”
Director of university dining services Megan Sarantos said, “The recent construction on campus could have unearthed some critters.”
Should a roach incident arise, Sarantos said, “Our staff handles it immediately by cleaning and sanitizing the area. After the February 1st incident (Bonila’s Facebook post), cleaning crews were dispatched.”
A USU student custodian, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “They [management] haven’t mentioned anything regarding the recent incident with the ice machine.”
“The roach issue isn’t a huge problem, but it’s an ongoing one that has never been adequately dealt with since I began working here in the spring 2019 semester,” the student said.
Former USU custodial worker Touger Moua said management “does an OK job but not the best. They meet the bare minimum in terms of working standards but they can do better.”
“We are very thankful for the student workers. We couldn’t do it without them,” Stewart said.
Should cleanliness issues arise, Stewart recommends students alert custodial shift supervisors and workers (morning, evening or night shift) to quickly address the problem.
For workers, plenty of things can be done to improve the current situation.
“Workers alone have limited hours, but we don’t have enough to do extra cleaning. I can’t really say it’s an understatement but if they hire more workers, conditions would greatly improve,” said Moua.
The student who wished to remain unidentified said cleaning areas that are not visible to students and visitors would greatly reduce the problem.
“We only clean up the gunk when and where it is visible. Areas such as behind the trash cans or under the freezers in Juice It Up, where food can get stuck, rot and attract roaches we rarely clean,” the student said.
“Just recently, a coworker of mine showed me a video of a cockroach on top of the cookie case in the food court. Stuff like this shouldn’t happen,” the student said.