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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Potty Talk: Dirty Ballou, Part 2: The Electric Ballou-galoo


A week ago, we spelunked through the spooky cellars that are Ballou Hall’s downstairs bathrooms. But this week we reveal the real horror as we board Ballou’s regal elevator and soar to its higher floors. Tufts’ administrators are living in plush pottydom while we, the people, survive with odd smells and ugly tiling.

We once called Miner Hall a study in contrasts. When we wrote this, we were young, naive, still-pure bathroom explorers. We did not know who we would become and what we would discover.

On our first attempt to locate the upper floors' lavatories, we were told by an employee, presumably of the ‘administration,’ that there were no bathrooms upstairs — we’d be better suited, she suggested, to check the basement. Why give poor, desperate students the chance to relieve themselves among royalty?

Moving from the dungeon-like bathrooms beneath the surface of the academic quad to the homey, softly scented lavatories that the administration enjoys, we became Katniss Everdeen on her first trip to the Capitol.

The second-floor bathroom contains light green scented candles and a vanity tastefully topped with light granite. The molding is singly impressive, no doubt constructed by a maestro in the field. But for the poster advertising a 2012 performance of the acclaimed melodrama “Pierrot lunaire,” the bathroom feels like it belongs in a quaint and unjustifiably expensive bed and breakfast in Vermont.

Adding to this sense are the signs notifying people waiting if the bathroom is in use. When you lock the door, it flashes a red “OCC.” The ‘administration,’ if that is even their name, has no time for extra syllables. Likewise, when the bathroom is unoccupied it reads “VAC,” a subtle nod to the constant vacuuming that must happen to maintain the stunning state of those carpets. Replete with an odor-neutralizing spray and cone, you have to wonder whose actions have led the likes of Nadine Aubry to implement such smell-reducing measures.

The only oddities are the small utility closet and the problematic toilet paper predicament. The free-standing sink and haphazardly strewn water tankards behind a nicely adorned door are reminders of the humble roots underlying this meretricious display of wealth. So too with the meager amount of single-ply toilet paper — we assume members of the administration treat this as a BYOP situation.

Up one narrow set of stairs, there lies yet another all-gender restroom, the likes of which downtrodden students can only dream. While it lacks the former’s carefully placed stench mitigation devices, this bathroom boasts two pairs of wooden kitchen cabinets tucked into the corner. Rather than the expected toilet paper, there’s just regular paper. And lots of it. If you ever need printer paper and want to stick it to the bourgeois capitalists, this is your place. Mercifully, the attentive observer will spot a lone canister of Lysol Neutra Air to spare them the shame of emerging from a reeking bathroom face-to-face with Dean James M. Glaser.

Ballou Hall Floor 2: 10/10 Homesick first-years, this is a place where you can feel at ease.

Ballou Hall Floor 3: 7/10 Makes you ask the big question: Who but T.P. Monaco?