It is an indisputable fact that all people, regardless of their gender identity, should feel safe, regardless of the environment. Given this fact, it is unsurprising that gender issues have found their way into government, including our own student government.

On Monday evening, SA Senate approved Resolution XX, titled “Resolution Urging the Development of All- Gender Restrooms.”

SA’s resolution does exactly what it sets out to achieve: it “advocates for the reorientation of current public restroom facilities,” such that all buildings used by members of the Students’ Association reflect “the University’s commitment to a safe, accessible society for members, regardless of gender identity or expression,” and “advocates for the modification of building design standards to include a commitment to creating all-gender restroom options in all newly constructed or renovated buildings owned or managed by the University of Rochester.”

We fully support the resolution. Not only does every member of the University community have the right to feel safe and comfortable, but the University has a responsibility to provide a safe, comfortable environment for students and other members of the University community.

We are a university of people and cultures, of values and ideas. The ideals that we hold dear–including but not limited to respect, inclusion and responsibility–are reflected in SA’s resolution.

Today, the University sits at a crossroads, poised in a position of tremendous opportunity–an opportunity to affect peoples’ day-to-day lives in such a way that they feel safer. With this resolution, SA seems genuinely interested in bringing about such change. For this, we applaud them for standing up for students.

As it stands today, the University’s nondiscrimination policy guarantees equal opportunity regardless of one’s “gender identity or expression.” If the University were to provide all-gender restrooms, it would go a long way in encouraging a safe environment for transgender and nonbinary individuals.

All-gender bathrooms already exist on campus, but only in a few locations. Their sparseness is problematic, but what is more troubling is that other than SA’s resolution, the University has taken no initiative to publish directives addressing the systematic creation of all- gender restrooms throughout its campus, a policy we strongly encourage the Administration to consider.

To offer a concrete goal, we would like to see at least one all-gender restroom in every academic and residential building. Residence halls should take first priority; let’s work to make people feel as comfortable as they can in their homes.

SA’s resolution is a welcome step toward the ultimate goal of creating a safe campus climate for all individuals, but it is only one step towards that goal. While this resolution makes progress in the arena of safety on campus, there is still much work to be done in order to make our campus tolerant of all individuals.

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