SURC restrooms redesignated “All-Gender”

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SURC restrooms redesignated “All-Gender”

Nick Tucker, Staff Reporter

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A set of restrooms on the second floor of the SURC were re-designated all-gender restrooms last Saturday, February 2. This is the result of a long effort made by students from the Diversity and Equity Center (DEC), and Equality through Queers and Allies (EQuAL), as well as CWU faculty including Katrina Whitney, Assistant Director of the Diversity and Equity Center.

“One of the things we talked about all the time is that [going to the restroom] is a natural human body function and we have to be able to have a safe space to do it,” Whitney said, “Within the transgender community there are health issues related to not feeling safe going to the bathroom.”

The two restrooms, which are on the west end of the SURC near the ASCWU office, are the first in the SURC, where previously students looking for a gender-neutral restroom had to go through the Recreation Center to use the family restroom.

According to Whitney, this issue was first brought up by a student on her staff.

“Back in spring quarter of 2016 we had a student on staff at the time who was really committed, as well as myself, to looking at all-gender restrooms and what that might mean on campus for creating an inclusive environment for all students,” Whitney said. “So we got a bunch of folks together from EQuAL, folks from the Diversity Center, some former alumni, and talked about how to get this moving forward with all-gender restrooms.”

Shane Scott, who is now the Associate VP of Campus Planning and Facilities Management, was new at the time. Whitney says that he was instrumental in getting the conversation started, and when Science II was opened, it was the first building on-campus to have an all-gender restroom.

Jeff Rosenberry, Executive Director of Student Involvement, says that there probably won’t be more all-gender restrooms in the SURC for the time being due to building code restrictions. However, all new buildings built will include an all-gender bathroom.

“As part of Safer Spaces we all created a map which included the potential all-gender restrooms. So we would identify which buildings had single-stall restrooms where people of all genders could feel comfortable.” Whitney said. “We went through a lot of signage too, what we wanted it to say. Gender-neutral restrooms, all-gender restrooms, the goal is to get to just ‘restroom.’ The value of saying all-gender restroom is that it creates dialogue.”

According to Cherie Wilson, who is the Student Union Director and sits on the student advisory board, Whitney’s coalition with EQuAL and the DEC then went to the student advisory board and brought up that the SURC doesn’t have an all-gender bathroom .

This was in 2017 and around this time Jeff Rosenberry was hired.

“It was all positive and there was some momentum, but then because of some turnover with various departments and folks with facilities management, the conversation lost its momentum,” Rosenberry said. “When I started my job, I was updated on it by Katrina Whitney and we just brought it up and went forward with it pretty quickly.”

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