Penn Privilege

Apparently the Gilded Age practice of bringing domestic servants to college is sort of coming back.

A woman who cleans fraternity houses, Kia Grasty, at the University of Pennsylvania is happy to serve. According to an article by Daniella Wexler in the Daily Beast:

Since 2005, Grasty has been cleaning up after Penn. While her partner at Diamond Cleaning, Candy Boyd, handles more conventional work—commercial buildings in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—Kia has parlayed the effusive recommendation of one student, who found her on Google, into a customer base of dozens of Ivy League neat freaks and slobs—including high-profile scions like Delaney’s son, Vera Wang’s daughter, and the heir to the Beverly Hilton—many of whom pay her for the entire year in advance.

Grasty doesn’t judge her clients for a sense of entitlement because she doesn’t see entitlement as a bad thing. “Students should be focusing on books not disinfectant and cleaning the bathroom,” she says. While Grasty will often scold her kids, telling them “they done lost their minds,” that “they know better than that,” at the end of the day, she’ll still pick up the clothes or scrub the bathtub as long as it takes. Her only gripe: when they spent money on booze instead of hiring her more often.

Apparently she’s something of a surrogate mother to many Penn students. The Wexler piece opens with a scene of Grasty breaking up a one Saturday party because she was looking for a package. Not her own package but, rather, the package NYPD Blue actress Kim Delaney had sent her son, Penn junior Jack Cortese. Delaney needed to make sure Cortese got the fancy suit and shoe she’d sent him for an upcoming internship interview

I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s seems vaguely unsettling on several levels.

Still, Grasty seems to be making out pretty well. According to the article, last year she took home $140,000.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer