While UR’s all-gender restrooms have been a major step forward for inclusion in recent years, some transgender and non-binary students still face a dilemma.

Senior Lumi Schildkraut told of a transgender student who had numerous classes in the Hajim quad and would walk from there to Todd Union to use its all-gender restroom.

“That’s not creating an equitable environment,” said Schildkraut, who is Legislative Advisor to SA’s Campus Services Committee.

In putting together a report that will be presented at Monday’s SA Senate meeting, Schildkraut (a senior staff writer for the Campus Times) and the committee aim to ultimately ensure that no person is ever more than one floor away from an all-gender restroom.

The report evaluates the state, convenience, and accessibility of the all-gender restrooms currently on campus, and makes a series of recommendations to achieve the committee’s aim.

“We’ve had students express concerns with existing all-gender restrooms,” said junior and committee chair, Alexander Pavlicin. Single-stall all-gender restrooms, like those outside Starbucks and in the Susan B. Anthony Halls are often occupied, and therefore not always available for students that need them.

When transgender and nonbinary students use gendered restrooms, they may be subject to microaggressions. This academic year, Schildkraut said, a transgender student had Public Safety called on them while they were using the bathroom.

“Even today, because […] we don’t necessarily have ample access to places like all-gender restrooms, things like this can still happen,” Schildkraut said.

The committee’s report outlines a comprehensive plan for new multi-stall all-gender restrooms for all campus buildings. The report has been informed by feedback from key stakeholders like students, administration, residential life staff, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

According to Schildkraut, the committee has also met with 5 different deans who expressed overwhelming support and gave constructive feedback, saying that many faculty and staff would feel more comfortable using all-gender restrooms and have been pushing for their implementation.

Pavlicin said he hopes this project will improve the campus for everyone, which is one reason that the report ensures that those who prefer gendered restrooms still have access to them.

Pavlicin added that accessibility “has been a controversial and highly salient issue on campus.” Due to this, the report recommends that new constructions of all-gender restrooms or renovations of existing restrooms should strive for compatibility with accessibility standards.

SA senator senior Tayfun Sahin praised efforts like the Residential Life Office’s construction of a single-stall all-gender restroom in Sue B. as a step in the right direction. However, Sahin said, they do not seem to meet student needs.

“[The Residential Life Office is] listening, but they are not necessarily implementing what we would best like,” he said. RAs and residents in Sue B. told the Committee that the restroom fails to adequately serve the needs of trans and non-binary students or students with disabilities due to its single user nature.

Advocacy for all-gender restrooms is nothing new to UR. The movement began in 2014 when students in SA began requesting all-gender restrooms, receiving widespread student body support. In 2015, SA passed legislation for the creation of all-gender restrooms on campus.

The current report builds upon the 2015 legislation and also examines possible long-term projects. For instance, the committee has talked with the Goergen Athletic Center about implementing private locker rooms that are all-gendered and disability-friendly.

After this week’s presentation and discussion of the report and accompanying resolution in the Senate, the resolution should face a vote in coming weeks.

“[I’m] feeling good about this report,” Schildkraut said. Said Pavlicin, “Implementing these recommendations will put UR ahead of most of our peer institutions. We will be a leader and pioneer for inclusivity.”

Correction (2/24/20): An earlier version of this article stated that the Campus Services Committee has met with 10 deans. It was, in fact, 5 deans. 

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