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Two-ply toilet paper reaches Harvard University dorms

Although U.S. News & World Report may rank both Harvard University and Princeton as number one, Harvard recently took the lead in the crusade for two-ply toilet paper on campus.

According to a Harvard Crimson article, Harvard maintenance officials are in the process of switching from one-ply to two-ply toilet paper in campus dormitories and bathrooms.


Crimson columnist Geoffrey Upton published a column last December that initiated the change. In the "tongue-and-cheek" column, Upton said he challenged the newly-elected student body leaders to change the toilet paper, if they chose to "focus on small issues . . . and wanted to do something useful."

"If Harvard claims to care about us, two-ply must be available," he demanded in the article.

After the Crimson column appeared, freshman Ted Wright incorporated the issue as a part of his campaign for a vacant student council seat.

After reading the impassioned column, Dean of Harvard College Harry Lewis sprung to action to deliver the long-awaited cushier product.

"Harvard listened"

In an email to Crimson reporter Scott Resnick, Lewis explained the logic: "The students spoke and, after due deliberation, Harvard listened."

The change to two-ply elicited a surprising reaction from major news services and TV networks, such as the Associated Press, CNN, and Fox News.


In fact, Upton said "media reaction was of a greater magnitude than here on campus."

Resnick said that the overwhelming media attention is "making me wonder is it just because it's happening in Harvard that it's making waves."

Newly-elected student body president Beth Stewart stressed that "this is a very random quirky event and by no means is the central focus of student council."

According to Upton's column, two-ply toilet paper became an issue of widespread concern on college campuses, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, American University and, recently, Princeton.

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Last December, Clint Kakstys '00 ran for USG president on the two-ply toilet paper platform. Backed by Tiger Magazine, he launched an active campaign to increase student awareness and support.

Although Kakstys obtained a mere 10 percent of the vote, he urged Building Services to consider the change. According to Tiger Co-Editor-in-Chief Bob Smiley '99, Director of Building Services George Frierson is testing two-ply in one "secret administration building and one secret dormitory."

"It's great to see the insight Harvard has shown," said Smiley.

Kakstys could not be reached for comment yesterday. USG president David Ascher '99 said that with the USG "working on 150 issues simultaneously, (the toilet paper) is not on our top 20 list."

Tiger Co-Editor-in-Chief Steve Moeller '99 said "it's great to see progress elsewhere, but I hope we can keep momentum here."