First world problems: the toilet paper shortage of 2011

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It is an unfortunate instance when one finds themselves stranded in the bathroom with no toilet paper. In such a situation, they are given two options: they may either venture out into the open with their pants around their ankles in hopes of finding a spare roll of paper towels to meet their needs, or call out to their roommate to bring them some, unaware that after calling their name for the tenth time, they have briefly stepped out.  This year, New College students may find themselves in such a predicament.

“Last year we’d have pounds of it in the common rooms, and your RA would give it to you,” Misty Khan-Becerra, 2nd year and RA said. “Sure, there would be dry spells because of usage, but whoever cleans the lounge would usually fill it back up. I totally get that the school needs to save money, but I wish they would still give us some, like cut it in half.”

With statewide budget cuts slashing money from the public school system, cutting jobs in the faculty and raising tuition for students, assistant director of facilities Bob Mason found that if the college was to cut the toilet paper supply to students’ dorm rooms, the school could save $20,000, which would save a custodial position from being eliminated.

“Initially, Student Government was resistant to the idea,” Associate Dean of Students Tracy

Murray said, who played a vital role in the decision making process. “What happened was that a group of students brought me some numbers and found that each student uses about 2.1 rolls of toilet paper a month, and that’s what we decided to go with. There’s also been some rumors saying that the school will no longer supply toilet paper to B Dorm, since they have communal bathrooms, but the change only applies to private bathrooms inside dorm rooms. Public bathrooms will still have toilet paper.”

Murray also added that in regards to students adjusting to the new situation, it is a very “minimal change” and that “the only thing that has changed is that students don’t get toilet paper from the RD… they can get it from Student Affairs.”

Some students are a little bit more flustered about the situation.

“Maybe if people weren’t so greedy with their 4-ply toilet paper, we wouldn’t have this problem,” Rebecca Borrer, first year said. “Maybe if a household didn’t use a roll of toilet paper every two days, the school could supply everyone with whatever they needed.”

Borrer estimates that because the school was only able to supply two rolls of toilet paper for her two roommates and herself, she has to spend  an extra twenty dollars a month to keep everybody satisfied.

“[With twenty dollars] I could have bought cigarettes and a burrito.” Borrer said.

The situation has led to theories that in dire cases where students are so strapped for cash between buying textbooks and other commodities, some would go to such lengths as stealing toilet paper from Hamilton Center.

“People will probably steal from Ham. Not out of anger, but just because they’re like, ‘Crap, I need toilet paper.’” Khan-Becerra said.

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