Urinal dividers: We want more

February 9, 2018 — by Austin Wang and Alex Yang

While many hailed the new multimillion dollar music building as the greatest addition to the campus in decades, we are thrilled about a renovation that improves the lives of half the school

Finally, after many complaints and requests, the administration ordered the installation of single urinal dividers in three boys’ bathrooms at the start of second semester.

Yes, a urinal divider. One each in three bathrooms. Is this a taunt? A joke? Or a legitimate extension of an olive branch, signaling a willingness for compromise and real change?

It’s hard to see this is as more than a cruel joke when one of the added dividers, the one near the math quad, was placed right next to a hand dryer. What was the meaning of this? Does the school expect two students to share a divider, one doing his business and one drying his hands? Furthermore, instead of placing a divider, in one of the bathrooms, some sort of handle bar was installed instead.

We can understand the importance of keeping your balance, but a urinal divider would provide the same effect if one just held the top of it. There is no logical reason for the lack of dividers in boys’ bathrooms, and we are determined to let that be known.

The battle for urinal dividers is not a new phenomenon, and every male student is a weary soldier. Since the inception of the school over 60 years ago, angsty, awkward teenage boys have been forced to go to the bathroom right next to each other without the privacy of dividers.

At times, the efficiency of the bathroom is negated by a student’s unwillingness to use urinals next to each other. Five urinals becomes three, four urinals becomes two, three urinals becomes one; finally, one student with a full bladder breaks through the heavy tension and chooses to use a urinal between two other students.

The awkwardness mounts to a peak as other students look on in shock. Sadly, these small, awkward moments take place every day.

So why do we not have urinal dividers? After all, the average urinal divider costs around $100 to install. For a fraction of the price of the new music building, you could buy enough urinal dividers to eliminate the problem.

A singular divider between the farthest left urinal and the one next to it helps but does not  solve the problem. The math of the problem is that even if the leftmost urinal is isolated, the remaining urinals will still suffer from awkward tension — only half can be used with appropriate spacing in between. So, in the end, the number of used urinals effectively stays the same.

Opinion writers at The Falcon have been leading the charge for urinal dividers for years. Since 2015, when our first pro-divider article came out, we have been pleading for students’ basic right to privacy and comfort. In fact, when you Google search “lack of urinal dividers,” a Saratoga Falcon article appears as a front page search result.

We hope that these single dividers are but the start of a glorious revolution.