University of Montana’s buildings are not all created equal. Going from McGill to Gallagher feels like time traveling. Some buildings are old, but in a charming way, like the Fine Arts Building or Jeannette Rankin. Some are ... just old, and a select few might even convince you that you’re in the 21st century.
Does the age of our classrooms have any effect on our ability to learn? Do the drastic differences in technology between build- ings (and the programs they house) represent levels of funding individual programs are getting? I don’t care right now. I’m here to talk about the bathrooms.
Most restrooms on campus are fine. They’re restrooms — what else do you want? Sure they’re old and all-too-often without paper towels, but you can get in and out with your dignity still intact. But some of them, like the ones in the Journalism and Business buildings, are in your face with how fancy they are. If bathrooms were movie characters, the J-School's would be Miranda Priestly and Gallagher’s would be Regina George.
Eck Hall’s bathrooms would be Shrek. They’re poorly-ventilated, the toilets are old, and, let’s be real, the lighting is trash. I know they just renovated the building, and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful: The entire south-facing side of the building is looking real nice. They even put iPads in the walls, oh my! Sure, none of our professors know how to use them, but they sure look legit.
No, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but all we wanted was air conditioning and bathrooms without leaky toilets and sinks that can wash more than just one of your hands at once. Seriously, if anyone knows how to work the sinks with two nozzles that don’t stay turned on, please email me. Even the sinks that stay on mostly consist of two separate, parallel nozzles that spray either freezing or scalding water.
Eck Hall’s bathrooms rank just about the lowest on campus, but, like Shrek, they get the last laugh. Amidst the worst bathrooms on campus, the best one on campus hides in plain sight. In LA341, you are the master of your own destiny. This hidden gem is unmarked, gender-neutral and, best of all, private. It’s just you, your god, and a toilet. You can take your time, check your Instagram, fix your hair, or practice handstands without the looming judgment of your peers. I mean, you’re probably still annoying someone by taking so long, but there is a full wall between the two of you, so it’s not your problem.
So what’s the moral to our story? That the juxtaposition between different buildings is enough to make you wonder where our priorities are regarding different programs of study? No. It’s that instead of polishing the turd that is the Liberal Arts building, we could put funding toward fixing the basics of what we really need to feel comfortable enough to learn. And above all else, if you need to pee in Eck Hall, either hike up three flights of stairs or take a quick stroll over to Journalism.