Toilet Paper Inequity

Ryerson U students reveal that administrators' bathrooms feature two-ply, while everyone else has one-ply.

November 2, 2015

As exposés go, it may not rank up there with the Pentagon Papers, but student journalists have captured the attention of Ryerson University, in Canada, and national coverage there with an investigation of differential toilet papers.

Under the headline "Two-ply toilet paper creates two-tiered Ryerson," The Ryerson Eyeopener reported that bathrooms throughout the university are stocked with one-ply. The exception, the newspaper said, is in two floors of the administration building, which house the offices of president, provost, and vice presidents for administration and finance, research and innovation, and university advancement.

Ryerson officials did not dispute the finding but noted (and the student newspaper subsequently acknowledged) other, leased spaces off campus, where Ryerson employees enjoy two-ply comfort: the offices of alumni relations, international affairs, diversity institute, finance and human resources.

The Canadian Press checked in with other universities and found that at the Universities of Guelph, Ottawa and Toronto, the tushes of presidents, professors and undergraduates all have a common experience with toilet paper.

Ryerson emailed the Canadian Press that "we are examining a switch to two-ply but we need to be mindful of costs and the fact that buildings with older plumbing systems can only accommodate one-ply."

Some online have characterized this dispute as a classic "first world problem." But many Ryerson students have gone on social media to say that, yes, this matters to them. And many others are just enjoying the debate.

Some American higher ed observers known for keen observations on inequity are also praising the story.


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