A left-handed Letter

Imogen McGuckin writes a passionate mock letter to the Arts Block Administration on the discrimination against left-handed students

Illustration: Sarah Larragy

The Arts students of Trinity have a case of discrimination on their hands. In an age of equal opportunities, many remain disadvantaged by the structure of lecture theatres and teaching rooms. A minority sadly underrepresented by the College are those born with the strange condition of left-handedness. Leaving the graphite smudges of school behind, I came to Trinity a fresh-faced English student, filled with excitement for the future. Little did I know that shoulder pain, wobbly writing and isolation lay ahead of me. I am writing this letter in a bid to right the wrong that has been committed to myself and the lefties of Trinity College.

Around 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, need I remind you. One would then presume such an institution as Trinity would base the left- to right-handed desk ratio on this statistic. In your case, it seems not. Taking the Ed Burke lecture theatre as an example, chairs with left-handed desks are provided hooray! However, rather than a left:right ratio of 40:400, the Ed Burke theatre has one of 12:400, leaving us lefties vastly unprovided for. I ask you to consider that all twelve of these left-handed desks are on the extreme left side of the theatre, leaving us isolated from the main body of students in the middle who can actually see their lecturers’ attempt at a Powerpoint head-on. If I want to sit beside my friends, I have to sit in a right-handed seat and reach across to write, causing me prolonged shoulder pain, as well as a nagging feeling that I’ve been forgotten about.

On closer investigation, the right-handed desks have a superior length to breadth ratio to that of a left-handed desk. This reduced size means I don’t have space for a water bottle, coffee and notebook all at once, and the decision to sacrifice hydration, caffeine or lecture notes is not one I take lightly. Leftie desks are also wobbly and slanted. We do have one advantage though, and that is proximity to the loos, which we thank you dearly for.

Mondays are tough for everyone, but you do not make them any easier. My personal struggle involves a first lecture of the week spent at the single left-handed desk-chair of Arts Block room 3074. This chair and I have become good friends, together in our exile to the furthest, darkest corner of the room. As I struggle with the sloping plank of wood stapled to its arm and squint at the faraway screen, I try to remind myself that the likes of Barack Obama are left-handed too, and I am not alone in my experiences.

Arts Block Administrator, I am asking you for one simple thing: that there will be at least two rows of left-handed desk-chairs, stretching right across the lecture theatres, that represent 10% of the total chairs in that theatre and are the same size as their right-handed counterparts. With regard to teaching rooms, I call for more left-handed desk-chairs overall with increased desk space and stability.

Sincerely yours,

A leftie with a cause