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Why campus needs left-handed desks in all classrooms

Why we need more left-handed desks at UH Mānoa

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Seventy-one percent of left-handed students have some difficulty in school.

Left-handed students are at a major disadvantage when it comes to school work. The shortage of left-handed desks at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa creates daily obstacles for lefties, including slowed writing and chronic back pain. However, the campus should be promoting an equal environment for every student and needs to offer more left-handed desks throughout classrooms on campus. 

Left-handed discrimination

The ultimate problem that left-handed people face with right-handed desks is that they often have to twist and turn their body and arm just to be able to write comfortably. While righties have a place to rest their entire arm and elbow, lefties are literally left hanging in mid-air. According to the Handedness Research Institute, lefties may begin to feel more shoulder, neck and back pain because of the way they spend hours writing in class on desks made for right-handed students.

This also causes problems when it comes to timed tests and assignments. The position that lefties have to write in often causes them to slow their average writing speed. Even worse, using right-handed desks as a left-handed student may give off the illusion that they are cheating. Since lefties constantly turn their shoulders and neck over to the other side of the desk, it may appear that they are looking at another student’s paper.

In a survey conducted by the Left Handers Club, 85 percent of lefties stated that they feel more clumsy than the average person. However, this may not be entirely because they are left handed. Throughout grade school, lefties are often told that what they are doing is wrong, whether that is writing at a desk, using a pencil or cutting with scissors. These simple actions have to be switched around for lefties to use them successfully. Because of this, left-handed people may begin to develop an “inferiority complex” in school and work because of the message that society sends them: you are different. 

Perhaps lefties feel like they are so clumsy because they have always been told their left-handed actions are wrong. On campus, we should not be promoting this type of inequality among students. By implementing left-handed desks, UH Mānoa will begin making students feel much more accepted.

Additionally, according to a survey conducted by the Left Handers Club, 71 percent of left-handed students said they experience school related difficulties due to being left-handed and do not receive any help from teachers regarding their difficulties.

Lefties at UH Manoa

A total of 18,865 students are currently enrolled UH Mānoa during the 2015/2016 academic school year. According to a study conducted by Curtis Hardyck and Lewis F. Petrinovich, 10 percent of the global population is left-handed. If the UH Mānoa student population followed this statistic, almost 2,000 students at our school would be left-handed.

Ignoring the challenges that one in 10 students face at our school is a disservice to the young adults striving toward their potential to learn and perform well in school. The primary change we need to see at UH Mānoa is the addition of left-handed desks into all classrooms.