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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Potty Talk: Tisch Library


For the last three semesters, many buildings and facilities on campus have sat either empty or at severely reduced capacity. Scores of Jumbos have never seen Tufts' campus in all its glory, with students milling between classes and avoiding that person whom you haven't spoken to since they shared their deepest secrets with you during “Bridging the Herd.”

But perhaps most tragically, there are two classes of students on campus with no idea how to navigate the bathrooms of Tufts University. This column will strive, at its best, to shine a light on the darker corners of Tufts. No, we are not the Daily’s Investigative team digging up illicit meetings with Saudi princes. We are instead the Sanitation Scorers, giving out frank opinions on some of our beloved school’s most sacred places.

First up on our whirlwind waterline tour is one of the places where you’re bound to spend miserable hours ‘studying’ and ‘reading’: the venerable Tisch Library.

Perhaps the most well-known bathrooms on campus are Tisch’s all-gender, main-floor restrooms. At peak hours, you cannot simply enter this lavatory; you must first come face-to-face with every bathroom goer’s greatest nightmare: a bright red “in use” sign. You’ll wait in the small nook outside, where you will inevitably make eye contact with the previous occupant.

Upon reaching the bottom of your Instagram feed, the door swings open to reveal a bathroom replete with a full-sized desk, folding chairs, a Squatty Potty, out-of-use hygiene product dispensers and stagnant floor water to clean the soles of your shoes. In some ways, these two glorious chambers are the Kmart of bathrooms: They have everything you could possibly want but still you prefer to go elsewhere.

The obedient among us will dutifully follow the instructions printed on the door to proceed to the gendered restrooms on the third floor. While the main floor threatens to overwhelm you with features, the third floor is more quietly luxurious. Its gentle mint-green walls offer a sharp contrast with the ground floor’s unapologetic emerald hue while the cream floors lure you into a sense of comfort. This bathroom is exceptional only for how totally pedestrian it is; it’s the sort of space you might see in a B-list movie about middle school.

But where Tisch bathrooms really soar is in the Hirsh Reading Room. Spacious and lush, these bathrooms have none of the overdone gaudiness of their first floor companions but all of their privacy. Their cork boards offer ample room for club posters, etchings of life affirming quotations or encouraging reminders of our shared humanity. Our only qualm lies in the puzzling height of the toilet and sink — it is as if to force a certain discomfort that might encourage one to return to their studies.

Overall scores:

Top floor: 7/10 — squarely above average

Main all-gender: 6/10 — quirky, but someone went too far

Reading room all-gender: 9/10 — a special space on campus

With that, we humbly invite you to join, fellow students, as we flip every toilet seat, use oodles of paper towels and lock every door, all in pursuit of exposing Tufts’ dirty secrets.