Cleaning staff at NYU Paris enter dorms unannounced

Cleaning staff have walked in on NYU Paris students without knocking, prompting safety concerns.


Aaliya Luthra

Students raised safety concerns at NYU Paris after residence hall cleaning and maintenance staff entered rooms unannounced. (Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

Nikkala Kovacevic, Staff Writer

Riley Coughlin, a Global Liberal Studies junior, had her first interaction with the cleaning staff at NYU Paris during her first week. She heard her dorm room door open unexpectedly around 8 a.m. A woman then walked into her room and said she was a member of the cleaning staff.

I was wearing little to no clothing and she came in,” Coughlin said. “I was trying to cover myself up and was delirious, but she woke me up and was like ‘Okay, well, this happens all the time. You need to have all your stuff off the floor.’”

Since the beginning of the semester, students living in the Maison de l’Île-de-France — a residence hall at NYU’s Paris study abroad site — have reported that cleaning and maintenance staff at the dorm walk in without notice. Sometimes occurring when they are not fully dressed or asleep, the incidents have prompted student safety concerns.

Maison de l’Île-de-France is owned by Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, a private university in Paris, and lodging is shared between NYU Paris students and graduate students from other universities. A private cleaning service — Compagnie Francilienne de Nettoyage, or CFN — cleans student dormitories on a weekly basis. 

Students living in the dorm were given an informational flyer detailing which day of the week they should expect cleaning staff to visit, based on their room number. However, the flyer did not include expected time frames for the cleaning visits. After being walked in on the previous week, Coughlin assumed that the cleaning staff would come at 8 a.m. on the same day of the next week and left her room at that time.

 “It made me realize that we didn’t have a physical lock on the inside, which made me realize really anyone can come into my room at any point for any reason,” said Coughlin.

Gallatin junior Bella Garcia also reported several instances in which cleaning staff entered her room without notice. During her first week of classes, she said she woke up to a cleaning person who had entered her room while she was asleep. The staff member then allegedly asked her to leave. 

“I don’t know if somebody’s going to be in my room when I wake up or if somebody came into my room when I was asleep,” Garcia said. 

The next week, she heard a knock on her door while getting ready. Garcia said that she asked the staff member to wait for a moment, but they began to open the door anyway. Later the same day, Garcia heard knocking on her door while she was in the middle of a virtual therapy session. Despite telling the person not to enter as she wasn’t fully clothed, she said that a man entered her room. Garcia said that he only left after she requested that he leave a second time.

When Garcia told NYU Paris Student Life about the incident, she said she was told that there should not have been a man in her dorm at all, as the cleaning staff was comprised entirely of women. According to Student Life, he may have been there to resolve a mechanical issue, but if that was the case, Garcia should have been notified by email beforehand.

“I still don’t know why that man was in my room at all,” Garcia said.

Martina Faltova, the assistant director of Student Life at NYU Paris, confirmed that the man was a maintenance worker who did not follow proper protocol by informing the student before entering her room. 

As soon as we heard a complaint from one of our students, we contacted our housing provider, who apologized and immediately addressed the issue with the new cleaning company,” Faltova said. “We encourage students to report if there are any further unannounced maintenance staff to the NYU team so we can immediately address this and hold the residence management accountable.” 

Student Life sent out an announcement informing students of additional rooms available in one of the other residences if students wanted to move, but has not directly addressed the room intrusion incidents. Garcia said that NYU did not offer her any other solutions to address her security concerns.

Despite NYU’s offer to move students to other residence halls, several students continue to feel as though the lack of security does not align with the standards they assumed would be set by NYU’s study away program, which is rated the highest in the country.  

Contact Nikkala Kovacevic at [email protected].