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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

June 14, 2003

Potty Parity and Professional Responsibility

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:13 pm

Weakend Special: I confess, this is a topic I never considered until the Summer 2003 edition of the Harvard Law Bulletin hit my mailbox today. In a short article from its Briefs section, entitled We Are Where We Excrete, Editor Lewis Rice raises the lid on an issue that has been the focus of “serious scholarhip” for several years by HLS alumnus Mary Anne Case (’85).  Case, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, teaches feminist jurisprudence and constitutional law, and hopes to publish a law review article soon on the topic of “potty parity”.

Prof. Case has designed the Toilet Survey to help discover what is in and what is going on in public rest room facilities. The Bulletin article flushes out some of the issues:

“The question is whether a model should move toward more integration or toward a richer idea of what separate but equal would involve.” she said.  Bathrooms that are separate are not always equal, she notes.  Equal square footage, for example, does not produce equality.

What are you equalizing: excreting opportunities, or are you equalizing waiting time?” said Case. “I’m not being frivolous when I say these are important questions to debate.”

Well, I’m being just as non-frivolous, when I say that law firms should give as much thought to this problem as restaurateurs and hotels, especially concerning the rest room facilities offered to clients. The Toilet Survey is a fountain of ideas on facts and factors to consider. The issue is way too important for me to offer a seat-of-the-pants opinion.  Maybe we could all give the topic due deliberation — wherever we get our best thinkng done.

Two Cents from Jack Cliente: If Prof. Chase is thinking about a lawsuit, I hope she’ll consider suing every second-rate bar and restaurant and gas station in the nation on behalf of grossed out males everywhere. No self-respecting woman would put up with the dark and dirty, sticky and stinky Men’s Rooms we guys endure every day.

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