In the past year, over 100 university campuses in the United States and elsewhere have witnessed student protest, specifically against institutionalized racism and in response to symptoms of the university’s neoliberal, capitalist and imperial culture. This article outlines the emergence and confluence of the corporate and imperial university, producing and reproducing the violence of consumer culture, academic containment, and institutional control. This case study of a small, elite, liberal arts college in the United States will unravel the messiness of the contact zone where university administration and student protest meet, and its meanings for those of us who find ourselves ever-contained within spaces of higher education. Through critical discourse analysis and participant observation, I provide some preliminary mapping of how the university sanitizes—how it keeps itself ‘clean’—and the different ways this is interpreted, confirmed, and resisted by its campus community. Queer and feminist readings of pollution, dirt, and bacteria contextualize the university’s response to student activism, and daily operation, in the politics of containment and cleanliness.