Editorial: Not to Be a Party Pooper, but Give Me Back My Privacy


Illustration by Jocelyn Urbina

On top of the murky water faucets, the random frustrating flushing of automatic toilets, and the lack of feminine resources in the women’s restrooms, we have felt there is a bigger problem in campus bathrooms: Sometimes, they are treated more like social lounges than spaces for people to do their private business peacefully and leave.

Lately, restrooms have become centers of socializing, vandalizing, and cutting class.

Imagine walking into the nearest restroom after a long lesson on a confusing topic, hoping to take a quiet breather and freshen up before the next class. Instead, you are faced with a crowd of students blocking the entrance, having conversations with each other and on their phones, just hanging out. In an instant, your privacy and “you time” is gone. With so many students there, you just feel uncomfortable.

The problem worsens in the case of the gender-neutral restroom. Students take advantage of its free space, turning it into a hangout and even resulting in vandalism. The third stall has graffiti on the wall, which is not only disrespectful to the space but also unnecessary for a bathroom.

The gender-neutral bathroom deserves special attention, for another reason. In 2017, the Gay-Straight-Alliance Club (GSC) convinced the administration to create the gender-neutral space for people who felt out of place in girls or boys bathrooms. It took more than a year to achieve that goal. When Vice Principal Helen Kim announced the new gender neutral bathroom, she put an emphasis on promoting “personal comfort and safety”,  hoping that those who felt less safe in the general restrooms would find this an alternative.

Turning that space into a hangout makes it less comfortable for others, and some may not have another choice. Before you decide to linger and hang out in a restroom, think about how it makes others feel, your classmates who simply want a quiet space to …well, you know! As for the gender-neutral restroom, respect those who really need it, and the effort that went into creating it.

Even though we students cannot do much to fix things like the random flushing of an automatic toilet, we can fix the atmosphere in our shared environment. Let’s respect everyone’s privacy in restrooms, and do the chatting and texting and socializing somewhere else.