USG endorses all-gender restroom initiative

Adrienne Underwood, Senior Staff Reporter [email protected]

Six months ago, Tulane’s Undergraduate Student Government proposed, endorsed and passed a policy working toward providing all-gender restrooms on well-frequented buildings on Tulane’s campuses.

The Tulane Univeristy LGBTIQA Policy Group worked in partnership with USG on passing the policy and testing its feasibility.

The all-gender restrooms will be both single-user and multi-stalled. USG intendeds for the policy to increase Tulane’s inclusivity of restrooms for trans or gender nonconforming students.

“Just having the flexibility for certain students — that’s something our campus should be doing,” junior Alex Bourguignon, USG co-director of the Diversity Inclusivity Excellence Council, said. “Other campuses are doing the same thing. Gender inclusive housing and gender inclusive bathrooms are something that has been done on campuses like ten years ago.”

The LGBTIQA Policy Group, which presented the Tulane University Gender-Neutral Restroom Policy, is an administrative body consisting of representatives from USG, the Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity, the Office of Institutional Equity, university planning, workforce management, legal counsel and event planning.

In April, USG passed USG160405: Resolution for the Expansion of All-Gender Restrooms that called for “at least one single- or multiple-occupancy all-gender restroom is available in every regularly occupied building on campus by Spring 2018.”

USG contributed funding to a feasibility study conducted by Mathes Brierre Architectural Firm to provide an analysis of Tulane’s restrooms. The study cost $27,000, of which USG paid $10,000. The university paid the remaining sum.

The study aims to ascertain which buildings’ restrooms can undergo signage change and which buildings Tulane must renovate to accommodate an all-gender restroom.

According to junior Josh Rosenbaum, a USG senator for the School of Liberal Arts and the sole student representative on the LGBTIQA Policy Group, the group plans to use the information provided by the study to determine which buildings take priority for the order in which buildings undergo signage change and renovation.

More trafficked buildings take precedence and ensure that at least one building in any given area contains an all-gender restroom.

Rosenbaum believes that having at least one all-gender restroom in each “zone” of campus will ensure the convenience of appropriate facilities to gender nonconforming students.

“Students should not have to walk all the way across campus to use the bathroom,” Rosenbaum said. “Students should not have to gender themselves if they’re a gender non-conforming student, every time they need to pee.”

The policy needs to go through the legislative process of and be approved by the University Senate, a democratic body composed of Tulane staff, as well as passed by the President’s Cabinet.

The LGBTIQA Policy Group has begun providing information about this initiative to the relevant university bodies and individuals.

“The committee has presented information to the Senate committee on equal opportunity and institutional equity,” LGBTIQA Policy Group member Deborah E. Love, vice president for Institutional Equity and assistant to the President on Diversity Initiatives said. “We did that about a month ago, just to present information in terms of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it to make sure that we have people on board.”

Since last year, eight restrooms in the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life are all-gender. This was part of a previous initiative, USG150302: All-Gender Bathrooms in the LBC. The current legislation, USG16040, confirms the university’s commitment to inclusive facilities.

“…At the end of the day this is a values question,” Rosenbaum said. “This is a question of Tulane valuing inclusivity and health and safety of its students, and faculty and staff.”

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