In response to student concerns about staggering tuition, rising housing rates, and capacity-constrained majors, the UW Board of Regents has voted to implement a cost-saving initiative for the 2018-2019 school year that will replace the single-ply toilet paper with half-ply rolls in every building on campus.
“We care deeply about affordability and opportunity for our students,” said Anna Durkan, regent in charge of bathroom-affairs. “In order to cut costs, we’ve done an extensive analysis of how we spend our money and worked to eliminate waste. When we realized how much of the budget was going to fund single-ply toilet paper, we realized we had to make a change.”
In the aftermath of the vote, reactions from students were largely positive.
“I’ve been frustrated for a long time with the university’s priorities and disregard for our limited resources, making us pay for our own scantrons and racking up dining prices,” junior Justin Liu said. “All the while, we’ve been wiping our butts like kings with single-ply toilet paper. It’s like, come on, no one asked for this kind of luxury.”
“I came to the UW feeling really anxious about getting into my major because I heard there’s never enough funding for popular majors,” freshman Lauren Johnson said. “Now I can rest easy knowing the UW is only spending money on essential things like putting bells on Kane Hall.”
However, a voice of dissent came from the Foster School of Business. Economics lecturer David Macintosh attended a Board meeting following the vote to explain his apprehension.
“I have some concerns over a possible increase in toilet paper consumption as a result of a decrease in tissue thickness,” Macintosh said. “In theory, this is a brilliant way to cut costs, but when you give people thinner toilet paper, they will inevitably try to use more. It’s the simple economics concept of ply-and-demand.”
In response to Macintosh’s comments, the Board has added what is being called the Elaine Amendment to the half-ply initiative. All toilet paper dispensers will be equipped with automated regulators that will only allow bathroom users to take three squares. Each additional square will cost $0.25, a fee that can be paid only with your Husky card. This is to ensure additional toilet paper is not being used by visitors or UW alumni.
“Professor Macintosh raised an important point,” Durkan said. “We decided to amend the initiative with the three-squares rule to make sure that this change really does cut costs, putting less financial strain on our students, who are, of course, our number one priority.”