Presiding over the OC

His jurisdiction isn’t a town, but the floor of a student center — and he holds brooms instead of babies — yet custodian Pat Martz is known around the lower level of the Oakland Center as “The Mayor.”

 As he makes his rounds in the morning — sweeping, mopping, swapping recycling bins and so on — he makes small talk with students and employees.

 He asks one girl how her Easter was. He asks another how she spent her birthday. Everyone he comes across seems to know him and vice versa.

 The Mayor

 Martz said the nickname came from “the guys at the radio station.” WXOU General Manager Erik Anderson said the nickname started before he came to Oakland University in 2007 and isn’t quite sure of its origin.

 “I think it’s ’cause he’s always around,” Anderson said.

 Martz’s vacuum is even labeled “The Mayor.”

 “He’s a genuinely good fellow,” said Danny Malendowski, a student technology center worker.

 Erik Williams, a custodian, has worked alongside Martz for more than two years.

 “When I started working here, Pat took me under his wing. Taught me everything I know,” Williams said. “He is truly the mayor down here.”

 Before coming to OU about nine years ago, Martz said he used to provide custodial services for Royal Oak schools. He then delivered The Oakland Press to OU for about a year and got hired in.

 After working the night shift for a few years, Martz is now a “custodian 2,” which means he holds seniority and gets to work mornings.

 “After a year or so you’re a custodian 1. After you get that time in, you become custodian 2,” which comes with a nominal pay raise, Martz said.

He works every morning Monday through Friday and gets two 15-minute breaks plus a half-hour lunch per shift.

 His breaks are spent surfing the Internet at WXOU, catching up with the news at The Oakland Post or smoking on the OC patio, typically with a bag of Doritos and a bottle of Mountain Dew.

 Making the rounds

 When he arrives in the morning, he goes and gets his sheet, which lists the rooms he has to clean that morning, what events he needs to set for later and so on.

 While making his rounds, he cuts through the room that connects the OU Student Congress office and the Student Program Board.

 “Did you know this is back here? It’s where all your tuition goes,” Martz jokes.

 He knows where everything is — including the campus’s tunnels. 

 Martz explains that there are tunnels running from North Foundation Hall to South Foundation Hall, and he said there are plans to build another one from NFH to Wilson Hall. 

They’re locked, but they’re not secret escape hatches, they just run water and electricity from one building to the next.

 “Used to have problems with bums,” Martz said, explaining why they’re so secure.

 Radio, radio

 If being the face of the OC’s lower level wasn’t enough, Martz was also its voice for two hours every week. He and Anderson used to host a radio show every Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon called, “The Banging On A Trash Can Show.”

 They haven’t been able to do it in a while though because of Anderson’s busy schedule.

 “We just did a radio show,” Anderson said. “Took calls, played classic rock, had a lot of fun.”

 And if the lines weren’t ringing, Martz said they would utilize their slogan, which was: “If you don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

 “We used to call people we knew just out of the blue and put them on the radio,” Martz said.

 He said they’d discuss current events, play a wide variety of music and have a good time.

Looking out for the students

 Martz is known for looking out for the student organizations located in the OC basement.

 “He’s kind of like my eyes when I’m not here,” Anderson said. “One pair of eyes, anyway.”

 Martz also makes sure the table outside the OUSC office has Scantrons in the morning and helps students with the copy machine.

 “I always help the kids around here,” Martz said. “If they need something fixed, if I can do it, I do it.”

 Outside of a fight he had to help break up a few years ago, Martz said there’s usually no trouble.

 “Every three to four years it’s different because you get different kids in,” Martz said.

 When Martz is off duty, he said he likes to spend time with his three kids and go fishing. He also likes to attend campus events, such as Greek Week, the WXOU birthday bash and other various events he sets up for.