An electronic lock with a number pad. In corridor-style residence halls at Stony Brook, female bathrooms have numbered locks and male bathrooms do not. MATTES —RESTORED/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS VIA CC BY-SA 3.0

Gender inequality still exists at Stony Brook University; you can find it on the bathroom doors.

If you’re a female student in a corridor-style dorm, you get a full list of bathroom codes for every floor your first day at Stony Brook. In Benedict College’s H-Quad, for example, there are seven different codes for seven female-only bathrooms, but no such thing for men. This was also confirmed via email with Campus Residencies. In Wagner College, girls weren’t even given the codes on the first day.

“I had to ask for the bathroom code the day I moved in,” Kylie Flannery, an undecided freshman student living in Wagner College, said. “Then I had to tell my roommate because she didn’t know either.”

How is it fair that these young women had to ask for a code just so they could use the bathroom?

“There have been many times when the bathroom is necessary in emergency situations. I know many girls who have had to go in quickly for an emergency, but the locks are in the way,” Carolina Ruiz, a freshman biology major who lives in Benedict, said. “For example, say you’re in a towel, and you want to take a shower. You want to get in the bathroom as quickly as possible, and the locks are in the way. You’re half-naked in the hallways, and it is frustrating that we [women] are the only ones who have them.”

If Stony Brook actually represents gender equality, then why don’t the men have locks too?   

It seems like Stony Brook is very different compared to some other SUNY schools when it comes to this problem. At SUNY Oswego, the residential halls aren’t split up by gender and do not have a locking system for any of the bathrooms.

“In most Residential Halls the bathroom’s are able to lock just by a regular door lock,” a spokesperson for Resident Life and Housing at Oswego said via email.

It might be understandable at Oswego, but there are many universities with gender exclusive residential halls that still don’t have locks and codes.

“I don’t live in a coed hall, I share with 18 other girls, but we don’t have a locking system at all, that’s odd,” Megan Krusinski, a freshman undecided major at SUNY Cobleskill, said.

Even colleges with halls separated by gender, like SUNY Cobleskill, don’t have the annoyance of long codes cutting women off from the bathroom.

When a door has a lock, it is usually for privacy and safety. Although it can be irritating, I can see the school’s reasoning for it. The problem here is why the women have codes and the men don’t. If Stony Brook was truly an equal school, then it would either give male students locks on their doors too, so that they can stay safe as well or spend more time during the mandatory freshman seminar talking about sexual harassment and giving strict punishments to those who are caught. It’s not fair to women to have to go through more difficulty just because some men can’t stop themselves from peeping. And it’s also not fair that men aren’t given a safe space.