Sharples Toilet Paper Mystery

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The Daily Gazette was recently asked about the quality difference between toilet paper found at Sharples and that found elsewhere on campus.

Stuart Hain, Director of Maintenance at Swarthmore College, reports that the Sharples toilet paper is two-ply, while the rest of campus is supplied with one-ply. The cause of this, Hain explains, is that “the dining hall has a separate cleaning service and budget than the other buildings on campus.” Other buildings are serviced by Environmental Services, which buys the single-ply paper to stay within its budget.

Dining Services Director Linda McDougall reports being unaware of the difference in quality.

Toilet paper quality is determined by the number of stacked sheets (ply) it is made up of. One-ply paper is the lowest grade and cheapest, while two-ply is generally considered to be the standard.

Sharples’ restrooms can be found on the upper level near the entrance.


  1. that last sentence may be the most informative thing produced so far this semester by campus journalism, phoenix or gazette

  2. I don't care whether the toilet paper is one or two ply.. because even tho Swat professors pile us up with so much work, I do believe we have that .5 second to turn a one ply paper to a two ply one..

    what i am more worried and i think you guys should report on is the lack of responsibility of some toilet users who does NOT flush their pee or worse their shit, are swatties so busy? that they could not spare that 2.5 seconds to flush their shit? it is horrible.. a lot of guys also don't bother flushing the uniners.. wth is going on? Isn't this suppose the place where future leaders of AMerica are educated? Wow, a school which produce Nobel Laureates and Genius grant recipients don't even know the importance of flushing the toilet. Shellshocked.

  3. @jfj:

    1) 2x One Ply < 1x Two Ply. Very much so. Just saying.

    2) Agreed. What's worse is when people don't wash their hands (you know who you are). It's really mind boggling. It's as if people don't realize that they're no longer in kindergarten, and that now a) they need to flush and b) they need to wash their hands. In a fairly densely and contained populated area such as Swarthmore, these two basic and simple actions are fundamental to a healthy environment.

  4. jfj, you clearly do not understand the nuances of toilet paper. But, being a sheltered little cry baby who complains about occasionally having to flush the toilet for someone else, which, by your own admission only takes 2.5 seconds, I can understand why. As someone who has actually had to purchase toilet paper for my own use in the past, I know what it is like to be tempted into buying the cheapest stuff you can find. Exactly one time I purchased the budget single ply toilet paper before I realized that I didn't like using sand paper to wipe my ass. In subsequent purchases, I have opted for more luxurious two ply toilet paper that makes it feel like I'm using an especially soft cloud to clean myself. Two ply toilet paper isn't the same as taking one ply and doubling it over itself, the quality of the product is completely different. Please, do not discuss topics of which you have no knowledge, you only distract from the dialogue that way.

    Also, "Isn't this suppose the place where future leaders of AMerica are educated?" is one of the funniest things I have ever seen written, kudos. I didn't know

    And people called me crazy when I told them I go out of the way to take my dumps at Sharples…

  5. Gah, forgot to complete one of my thoughts above. The middle paragraph's second sentence should have read:

    I didn't know environmental consultants were the leaders of our nation!

  6. Dr House,

    I think you have said the most ridiculous thing I have heard in my life: 'But, being a sheltered little cry baby who complains about occasionally having to flush the toilet for someone else, which, by your own admission only takes 2.5 seconds, I can understand why.' We should occasionally flush someone's poo? You're out of your mind. You're nuts.

  7. In a perfect world, all women would be as beautiful as Adriana Lima, Hitler would have been aborted, AIDS wouldn't exist, and you wouldn't ever have to push a little lever to flush some stranger's doodie. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world so sometimes you will need to expend the extra 2.5 seconds of effort or find another bathroom stall when attempting to empty your bowels (not to mention settle for women that do not make millions of dollars a year just for being born gorgeous).

  8. In a perfect world, there will be 2,3,4, even 5 ply papers. But this is not a perfect world. Dr House, I think you are the one who distracts the discussion to Adriana Lima, which is illogical.

  9. Uh, thanks, fellow commenters, for providing me and my procrastinating friends with much entertainment and hilarity!

  10. Antonie, I believe you misunderstand the philosophy of logic if you call Dr. House's comment illogical! We are not discussing propositions within a formal system and therefore another word, like annoying or distracting would have been more appropriate!

    I post this because it annoys me that people appeal to "science" and "logic" as if that demonstrated proof without having any concern for whether they are actually talking about science (the process of establishing falsifiability)or logic (the validity and soundness of a set of formal operations). GRR

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