The Mysterious Mt. SAC Microwaves

To students, the microwaves are a mess, and no one does anything about it

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A microwave with a set of instructions in the 9C Student Life entrance on Oct. 17, 2019. Photo credit: Abraham Navarro/SAC.Media.

The Mt. SAC microwaves often look like a crime scene out of a horror film with no signs of a clean-up crew in sight. The red splatter stains on the glass and the dried up crumbs on the microwave plate have become a common sight for students and faculty members, and it does not seem to bother anyone.

The few microwaves that are on campus are meant to be used by a school population of over 50,000 students. These microwaves are used daily by students who often have to resort to using a disgusting microwave for the sake of eating their food. Most of these students bring lunches to avoid having to spend their hard earned money on the often pricey cafeteria food.

When students on campus were asked if they had ever noticed anyone cleaning or maintaining the microwaves, not a single student said they had.

“I use them often, and they are always fairly dirty,” kinesiology major Christopher Kelsall said.

He said this as he proceeded to heat his food up in the building 26A microwave, which had what appeared to be burnt bread crumbs on the platform that the microwave sits on. He said he had never noticed an employee cleaning any of the microwaves.

SAC.Media reached out to the maintenance and faculty department and asked who exactly cleans the microwaves on campus. According to administrative specialist Caitlin Rodriguez, the microwaves are “a responsibility of each department.”

“Custodians sometimes clean them as well when they can,” Rodriguez added.

The microwave that sits outside of building 9C is not any better. When SAC.Media inspected the microwave, it was covered in marinara sauce and what looked like spaghetti pasta that had dried up. It sits in a location that sees a heavy flow of student traffic and sits next to a beverage vending machine, and there are several benches and tables for students to sit and eat their food after heating it up in the microwave. In fact, it is the microwave that is nearest to the cafeteria.

Accounting major Duyen Nguyen said the microwave outside of building 9C is so dirty that if someone cleans it, the microwave becomes dirty again immediately. Nguyen added that she would prefer to use a different microwave than the one outside of building 9C.

“I use this one often,” she said about the microwave outside of building 9C. “Recently it has become so dirty that I prefer to use the one inside.”

Nguyen pointed out that the microwave inside of the Student Life Center in building 9C was the cleanest microwave she could find.

The microwaves inside of the Student Life Center have posted signage unlike the microwaves in building 26A and outside of building 9C that show the “Microwave Rules” and give a phone number of who to contact in the case that the microwaves are not working. The phone number leads back to to the faculty members of the Student Life Center.

A faculty member of the Student Life Center, Arlene Reyes, said the microwaves are cleaned twice a week and that the staff of the Student Life Center cleaned the two microwaves inside the center.

“It has become harder to clean the microwaves as often because of the short staff on hand,” Reyes said.

She added that the microwaves used to be cleaned quite often, but that with less staff members, there are limits on how often they can be cleaned.

Nursing major Donte Cao said he uses the microwaves on campus daily.

“I just wish they would clean them more often,” Cao said while placing his food in a filthy microwave.