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Saturday, April 21, 2012

10 Most Unique Men's Rooms at HSC

Dear Readers,

I've had a couple professors read my blog, then come up to me and ask if I'm really as depressed and upset about this place as I sound. Well yes, I do kinda hate this place. But at the same time, I've had a lot of great experiences here and I wouldn't trade that for the world. Since people have been worried, I decided I'd do a more light-hearted post. So here it is: The Ten Most Unique Men's Toilets at HSC!

In no particular order....

Winston, Second Floor
 The first of our special bathrooms is in a place that I can't imagine too many people have ever gone, unless you are a music student. If you have ever found your way to the rear of Winston Hall, ascended the stairs that seem like they are about to separate from the building, and needed to use a bathroom, here's the one for you!

You'll find yourself strolling along the hall upstairs, and find the bathroom marked "MEN". No women's room up here, of course. Not at Hampden-Sydney! Of course, let's see what's behind Door Number 1!


  BEHOLD! Behind the bathroom door are 2 more doors. I cannot tell you how many times I've tried to go straight to the next door, only to find it locked. I can only assume that it's a utility closet of some kind. Anyway, the bathroom, itself is through the left door.

Still, despite the confusing entrance, my favorite part of this bathroom has to be this rather threatening sign that has been hanging on the door for a while. It's an empty threat, of course, but who knows? Maybe one of these two doors will lock one day!

Winston, Main Floor (?)
As long as we're already in Winston Hall, we may as well talk about that frustrating bathroom that is hated, I'm sure, by anyone who has had to go down there. The door stands near the main entrance and....ya know what? Let me just take you through a tour:


Looking from top left to bottom right, we get the brave journey into the pits of HELL! That's right. In order to use the toilets down here in Tartarus you must open the door, descend a bunch of stairs, then proceed through two additional doors before you can even get in there. This bathroom terrifies me. It's like a nightmare down here. There's graffiti aplenty, and I know that it is occasionally used by naughty boys looking for hiding places (sorry to rat you out, guys, but walking-in on your antics twice is enough for me...).

John's Auditorium: Lobby
Ah, yes. Look at our beautiful Hampden-Sydney Theatre, home to uncomfortable and broken seats, a sad, sad, small stage, and the hardest working students you'll ever see on campus. Our odd bathroom here resides in the lobby. You may, in fact, be able to tell from the photo above that, there is a Ladies Room, but..huh...where's that men's room? Oh.

There it is. Oh wait....A cloak room? This is just a coat closet! maybe it's....
THERE IT IS! It was hiding in the closet the entire time! Huh...That's funny...A Men's Room, hiding in the closet....

John's Auditorium, Studio Theatre
Meanwhile, in another part of John's.... Welcome to the Studio Theatre Classroom. We have our own little stage set up in here with a curtain and everything. And what's behind the curtain?
Well I'll be! Behind the curtain, a chalkboard, and a couple couches, there's actually a bathroom back here. Now, this bathroom isn't notoriously different because of it's design. Sure, it's built under the stairs that lead to the upstairs classroom, and sure there are exposed water pipes in there, and of course every time you flush, you can hear it in the sink, but what's so wrong about this bathroom?
Oh yeah. That. That bucket of beer cans and wine bottles that has been slowly growing for a couple years now. Yes yes yes. We theatre folk are notorious for our love of wine. Dionysus was the God of Theatre and Wine, right? Anyway, there's always something interesting in this bathroom, be it manikins, wine bottles, coolers of unopened drinks, YOU NAME IT! Now ask yourself, does this happen in your bathroom?

Graham Hall
I love our post office. It has a very nice atmosphere. It's kept clean, and tidy, and there's even a coffee shop. The entrance to the bathrooms here is even well labeled: 
So what is so special about the bathroom here, you might ask? It's not messy, it's not in a poor location. It's not oddly designed. And there's even a women's room too! To be completely honest, this is my favorite bathroom on campus. It has everything you could ask for: A Sink, a mirror, paper towels, or an electric hand-drier if you would prefer, a toilet, AND there's even a nifty sitting chair in their, too, so that your friends can sit with you when you take the Browns to the Superbowl....

Gilmer Hall, Main Floor
Being an English Major, I'm not really in Gilmer too terribly often. I do remember having to come in there one day, though, to relieve myself. Everything was going well. I found the door labeled "MEN", opened it, but then found this: 
dafuq? Some clever troll decided it would be funny to build a stall partition at the door. Are you serious? I had to double-take, just to make sure I hadn't lost my mind.
Nope. Nope. There it is. One stall, built right there at the door. Marvelous. I will say, though, that this bathroom has some of the most interesting graffiti on campus:

It must've been some good business. I gotta say, though, kudos to whoever continues putting The Stall Street Journal in the slot with the graffiti there, still...

Bagby, Third Floor
Oh, Bagby. I rarely have classes here, but I do remember taking my RPE on the third floor. About halfway through the test, I had to relieve myself from some pent-up anxiety and too much water. So I made my way into the hall to find a Men's Room.
Ah! Here it is! It's right beside the Women's Room, so it must be the men's room....
WHAT!?! Yeah. I remember being damn surprised to open the door and find a janitor's closet.
Well, As it should happen, there's no Men's bathroom on the third floor. Now I'm glad that there's a women's room here. There are female teachers and such, of course, and they need relief, too. I just find it odd that there's actually a place at Hampden-Sydney where women have the advantage over men. So here's a WIN for the ladies. Then again, I hate the clip-art that was used for this sign, so the victory may be slightly tainted....

Blake A, Student Government Floor
The only time I ever have to come here is when it is time for club audits. I must say though, that if you ever find yourself climbing the side-staircase of Blake A, past the photographs of smiling HSC students and as you try not to breathe because of that sour stank in the air, you'll be treated to the epilepsy-inducing light that greets you to the offices of our Student Government blokes. Their bathroom intrigues me because it's camouflaged
There is no sign on the door labeling it as a Bathroom. Indeed, when you open the door, you'll notice that it is carpeted in the same way as the rest of the floor.
But if you look past the posh carpeting and cheesy motivational posters (which are behind glass, as per the orders of the Fire Marshall), then you'll find that this is, indeed, a bathroom:

The Tree at the Intersection of Atkinson Ave. and College Rd.
On many, many nights of hard partying and debauchery, when students leave the frats, they often feel the need to empty their bladders before they can find a toilet. In an inebriated state, anything can be a toilet. For example, i've seen this particular tree used at least twice: 
The above picture is merely an example of what it would look like. This was not an image of me being caught-in-the-act. 

Maples, Main Floor
Finally, I bring you the last of our bathroom tour. This particular bathroom is, in my opinion, one of the most bizarre things on campus. It's the bathroom that actually inspired this post. It's something that I noticed my freshman year, and haven't been able to ignore since. Behold, THE TWO TOILET LAVATORY! 
No, your eyes do not deceive you. You are, in fact, looking at a bathroom that has two sit-and-shits sitting right beside one another with no stalls, no divider, no privacy. Whoever came up with this idea must've either been drunk (likely at HSC), High (again, likely), or just very very comfortable with his sexuality (Terribly unlikely at HSC).
On top of this interesting toilet dichotomy, though, we also get a message instructing us on how to be immodest to toilets!
Now I don't know about anyone else, but, when "flashing commodes", the best I typically do is when I'm actually urinating...not after. But if that's what you want, Maples.....

Well I hope that you enjoyed this more amusing post. It was fun to work on, and I can only hope it was fun to read as well. Until next time, stay hardy, readers!

--Your Editor.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hampden-Sydney "Honor"

This is a story that I've been meaning to write for a long time, and one that I don't think I can finish today. It's about Hampden-Sydney and our Honor system. There is no question that Honor is one of the biggest things about HSC. Unfortunately, I don't think people truly understand what it means. I'm not even sure that I have a clear impression of what "honor" is. I have opinions on what makes a man honorable, but I don't think that there is a cohesive opinion here on campus. This post is going to deal with one tenant of honor that I think is important, and one that I think has been almost completely forgotten: Respect.

The screenshot above is taken from, our school's website. As is true with the "Hampden-Sydney way" (As I have personally come to see it), only the end is important: "The Hampden-Sydney student will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do." That is the part of the honor system that I know people remember. And how couldn't we? As a reminder, we are made to write it on every single paper and exam that we turn in! 

But what about the Code of Conduct? "The Hampden-Sydney Student will behave as a gentleman at all times and in all places." This part of our honor system seems to be most often forgotten or ignored. For example, here's an email that I got this morning:

Now, I don't know what this "message of intolerance" was, but welcome to Hampden-Sydney! You mean to tell me that someone within the Hampden-Sydney community conveyed "a message of intolerance"? I am appalled and completely shocked! (only not really...)

One of the problems, as I see it, is that not enough is being done here. Look at this email, for example. Sure, it was sent out to the whole campus, and it identifies that something was "conveyed", but what was it? Was it a racial slur? Was it an anti-gay message? Was it another penis drawn on a chalkboard?

I don't know!

So what do we do with this? "The hurtful words are not representative of our Hampden-Sydney community," but what does that even mean? I don't think the majority of student here even recognize what is appropriate. On a typical day at Hampden-Sydney I hear approximately 6-10 racially themed jokes made outside the presence of racial minorities. Of course they aren't going to be made around students that might be more offended by these jokes, but think: "The Hampden-Sydney Student will behave as a gentleman at all times and in all places.

To date, I've heard more gay jokes and slurs at Hampden-Sydney than I ever heard in the four years of High School and three years of Middle School that I attended. Middle/High school students are recognizably immature. When we move to college we are supposed to grow up, right? Well that doesn't happen. And the worst part about people making these sorts of jokes, or saying these offensive things is that, more often than not, they do not know that they are offending anyone

Students here are not taught to recognize when something is offensive. It is left up to our best judgment. The judgment of a typical Hampden-Sydney student isn't that great--if all the alcohol and substance abuse related cases haven't already taught us that, then we are doomed. So when things like this are left up to the student, of course it's not going to work. Sure, students will know to avoid doing something, but what is that something that they must avoid?

Now for an anecdote: I'll take you back to my freshman year at Hampden-Sydney. This was a rough year for me. I came into school as an openly gay student. I didn't parade it around or anything, but I didn't hide it either--I was determined that I wouldn't hide that part of myself, and I wouldn't allow it to control me, either. As it should turn out, I was too optimistic. Throughout the year I was assaulted a couple times (ranging from "a shove to the ground" to "we're drunk and we're gonna give you some bruises"). I was victim to social torment practically every day from my classmates who were overjoyed to have a "faggot" to make fun of. I didn't have many friends, and still have few friends within my graduating class. Most of the friends that I have now are, likewise social rejects in one way or another (no offense to you guys, if you're reading this). By the end of the first semester, I was ready to leave, but stayed--"It'll get better", I thought. Second semester, I was met with the same issues, but I grew to get past it and avoid the trouble. By the end of the semester, I had less trouble: just a vandalized paper ("FAG" written across the front) and a few stolen/destroyed possessions. 

Is this the type of freshman year that students can be expected to have? I don't think most students have these issues, but I have heard stories of other harassment on campus. These things happen, and it's a real problem on campus. Things have gotten better for me, specifically, since freshman year just because I've learned to deal with them better. But I'm terrified that another freshman will come in next year, or may even be here now, and he will have the same sort of problems that I've had.

So what can we do about this problem?
To be honest, I haven't got a clue. I've mostly lost hope for this place. I've considered leaving every day since I got here, but my financial aid keeps me here. I do have on idea as to what might help us, though.

I believe that people need to be more informed. Things happen here that no one ever hears about. Like in that email, we don't even know what happened. I seriously doubt people have heard about my vandalism incident (even though it was reported), and even fewer still will know about the assault that I endured. Most of the people here probably think things are just super. Guys come in here, they drink and sleep their way through classes, they cuss and insult each other, they frat and haze, they break laws and have a good time, and then they leave. Like nothing ever happened. Nothing gained but a diploma, nothing lost but some brain cells. 
 But if Hampden-Sydney still claims that they've been
Then we need to start doing something about actually teaching the students about what is okay and what is not okay. 

This finally brings me back to my original point: Respect. Hampden-Sydney students need to be taught about how to respect one-another. We need to respect that there are things we should and should not do. We need to respect those tenants of the Honor System that we all agreed on, rather than just the second part. 

The honor code (no lying, cheating, stealing) is pretty much the only things students consider. Even then, they lie, cheat, and steal all the time. only time, perhaps, that the code is considered is when we're working on papers. In addition to this, since the Honor Code doesn't say anything specifically about vandalism and assault, does that mean it's okay to do them? 

Meanwhile, the code of conduct sits in a corner hiding away, forgotten. People do not act like "gentlemen" at all times and in all places. Obviously not. But it's like they often don't even try to do so.

I've probably rambled enough so here's my points:
  1. The school and everyone in it needs to be more responsible for informing one another when there is a problem.
  2. Students need to be reminded that "Honor" does not simply mean "No lying, cheating, or stealing (on homework assignments)." 
  3. Students should be reminded that the Code of Conduct does exist, and that it should be followed as closely, if not closer, than the Honor Code.
Respect and Honor walk hand-in-hand, Hampden-Sydney. Take a look at yourself and ask yourself if you're really being honorable.

-Sincerely and Passionately, 
Your Editor.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Stories

Dear Audience,

As you've probably noticed, it has been a while since my last post. This is due, both, to a combination of 1) I'm actually a fairly busy student and 2) nothing terribly exciting has been going on.

I've been looking for new stories, or things to write about, so hopefully I'll have something up sometime soon. Chances are, it wont be as hard-hitting as the last articles, but I hope that you'll bear with me, all the same.

Remember that I do accept submissions from whoever wants to write, so if you have a story to tell, let me hear it!

Until then,
Your Editor