Before, after, or during class, we all have to use the bathrooms at some time during the day. Is there a preferred restroom for most students? Is there a restroom students avoid? Do the conditions of the restrooms vary so much that we must ask these questions? In no way is this article intended to criticize Chabot staff. It is designed instead to raise awareness of the bathrooms and how their overall condition(s) can be improved.
“Most of the men’s rooms smell like guys are having an “aim for the ground” contest in there. Not only do we need more urinal cakes, but it should be a common thing for a janitor to check on them during college hours,” said Chabot student, LaRoy Fitch.
“The stench in most of the men’s restrooms are unbearable. I haven’t had that problem with the 400 and 700 buildings, which means a solution is available,” said Joan Cortes.
Many people contact security when they have issues with the bathrooms, but if you have an issue to report related to cleanliness or maintenance, it should be reported to someone in building 3000. Maintenance and Operations can be reached between 6 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at (510) 723-7206.
Researching this article included surveys for most restrooms on campus. The sample days were in December and May. The number of sinks, paper towel dispensers, hand dryers, soap dispensers, ventilation, graffiti, and aroma were collected. Due to the number of bathrooms and limited space in the article, only unusual findings and their locations will be revealed.
In building 2600, the restroom featured 7 urinals and 3 out of 4 sinks were operational. The aroma was horrible, the best way to describe it without getting explicit is “fermented urine.” Conversely, Gina Johnson said, “the women’s restroom in 2600 is my favorite because it’s the cleanest one.” The price of tampons is also higher in 2600 compared to other buildings.
The women’s bathroom near the cafeteria has what appears to be an ongoing message board on at least one of the stalls — mostly in pencil.
A common theme in the women’s bathrooms seems to be poor locks on stalls. Some latch, but then a little wiggle will let the door loose, leaving you no choice but to hold the door closed with your foot while completing your business.
“My favorite bathroom is probably in building 400. I used to go to one in 800, but actually, I think both the women and men’s bathrooms have been closed there over a month, there’s a sign saying there’s been vandalism, I dunno what happened there, I mean how bad was it? I’ve also noticed the women’s bathroom on the back side of the doors will often have writing like “Girl, you’re beautiful” and “Girl power” But that’s positive, so I’m not sure if that’s considered vandalism.” Zeraka Mitchell, Communications studies teacher.
The restrooms in building 500, 1700, 100, and 3900 have horrible odors with students comments ranging from rancid to explicit. The restrooms in buildings 400 and 700 have little to no ventilation and odor problems. Building 700 features administration services while 400 contains many offices for the Chabot faculty.
Only five buildings contain mirrors that are not etched with graffiti, only three do not contain graffiti or erased graffiti remnants on any of the walls. Only two buildings feature men’s restrooms with baby changing stations. On the top floor of 2300, building 1500, and building 3500 contain the only gender-neutral bathrooms. Building 2300 does not feature a mirror.
Building 500 has graffiti of a male’s genitals etched into the bathroom sign on the right of the door, and building 200 features an etched “g-a-y” above “Men” on the sign to the right of the bathroom door. It’s unclear how long that offensive material has been there nor is there information on whom to contact to change this properly or for any other bathroom related incident.
Some initiatives to improve restrooms are underway, lead by students. The Get Woke Stay Woke organization’s push to provide free menstrual products in all bathrooms regardless if its men’s or women’s restroom. “Menstruation is not a choice, and for many its an added cost in life to have to purchase menstrual products,” Stephanie Contreras declared at an equity meeting in early December.
Some of the tiles, walls, and flooring in most of the bathrooms date as far back as the 1970s except for buildings 400, 700, and 1700 as they are newer buildings. The bathrooms need renovating and a method to inform Chabot staff about bathrooms that require attention needs to be implemented.
All we can do now is be more mindful and courteous when leaving the bathroom, since we must all share this resource together. Perhaps our aim can be a little better, as well as our cleanliness. Many people can recall several times this semester, seeing people exit the restroom without even washing their hands.