81°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Quantitative Study of UMass Boston Toilets

We+answer+the+question-+How+many+toilets+are+there+on+campus+per+person
We answer the question- How many toilets are there on campus per person

This article is supposed to be *a bit* tongue in cheek though the numbers and figures used to arrive at the “conclusions” were true calculations
The bathroom is a battleground. In a film, a guy gets his key to the executive washroom confiscated, and the next thing you know, he’s throwing himself out a 54th floor window. Better yet, here is a true story. The boss of a small company, a Japanese national, had a hissy fit when the cleanliness of the 8th floor men’s room in his Boston office building didn’t reflect his corporate vision. He wanted to lock out everyone who didn’t meet his standards.
For us, it’s not a matter of life and death or corporate image, but the struggle plays out like this, at least for women: your next class is in 10 minutes, and the restroom-rich Campus Center is out of your scope. You find a two-person minimum wait at each “Ladies” on your route. You keep on moving, trying a floor above or below — same story. It seems like the business of the bladder was not a top priority of the Original Planners at University of Massachusetts Boston, but you ask, “is this a real problem or not?”
The only way to really find out is to count the toilets.
First, note the following significant facts: There are several floors in Healey which are completely deficient in bathrooms. Also, the conditions vary greatly, from the laminar airflow sanctuaries of the Campus Center, to the stinking dungeons with questionable wall blotches that make you shudder, sporadic water pressure, and icy seats.
Sweeping all variation aside, however, there are 396 toilets on this campus. Well, that might not be a perfect count because I had to draw the line somewhere and did not enter any men’s rooms (I’m not going to stick my nose in there). So, this review assumes that men have exactly the same number of toilets as women.
But what we really want to know is how many poopers are competing for each toilet, or the “percentage of outhouse practice per person per day” or (P.O.O.P.P.P.P.D.) statistic. Given that there are 19,091 faculty, staff, and enrolled students roaming the place, as well as untold numbers of visitors and hangers-on (5th year seniors), I estimate something like 15,000 who use the facilities on a daily basis.
That brings the P.O.O.P.P.P.P.D. ratio to about 38 to 1. It’s safe to say that most activity occurs, approximately between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (corresponding to the times when food at the cafeteria has just been devoured), which works out to 6.34 minutes per use, including time to get in the door. Not so shabby.
Then again, let us think it over. Who’s going to get up to the upper floors of Healey or any upper floors for that matter? Fuhgeddabout it.
So, if we consider just the high-demand restrooms on the first and second floors of Wheatley, McCormack, and the Science Building for example and extend to those floors in the Campus Center, the ratio is 95 to 1. The minutes drop to a measly 2.53 per use. Yes, you read it here first.
Sobering but there is hope. The original buildings clock in at an average 51 toilets per building, or 12 per floor. Wheatley is worst with 8.7 toilets average per floor. It’s probably not news that poor Wheatley falls short yet again. On the other hand, the grand and still-new Campus Center has 142 or 28.4 per floor.
The trend is obvious: the newer the building, the more toilets are supplied. So, either we are devolving into creatures with smaller bladders, or architects have seen the light. Anyway, I think we can safely extrapolate to a 25 toilet-per-floor minimum in the new Science Building. God only knows what the second General Academic Building will provide, but it had better be enough to serve the throngs of thinkers who do their best thinking in there.
There are gaps in this story. I have no idea what lurks in the uncharted territories closed to public access. Student Health Services has never yielded up its secrets to me, and frankly I hope it never will. And who knows whether the Chancellor or any of his associates demand a private john? The athletes also probably have something pretty special up Clark way. These are areas that would profit from further investigation by private spelunkers. I invite you to report your findings to me; you will get a mention in the final report of this important research — as “data assistants.” Go crazy.