The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern plans to create more gender-open bathrooms

Norris University Center officials announced in July the building’s third floor multi-stall bathrooms would be converted to gender-open bathrooms. However, University spokesman Al Cubbage said all the new gender-open bathrooms will be single-person bathrooms.

Tyler Pager/Daily Senior Staffer

Norris University Center officials announced in July the building’s third floor multi-stall bathrooms would be converted to gender-open bathrooms. However, University spokesman Al Cubbage said all the new gender-open bathrooms will be single-person bathrooms.

Alice Yin, Assistant Campus Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Northwestern will increase the number of gender-open bathrooms on campus, with two slated to open this month and more planned for buildings currently in renovation.

The restrooms, which the University calls “all-gendered bathrooms,” will be single-person rooms, said University spokesman Al Cubbage. A gender-open bathroom in the Technological Institute is complete, while bathrooms in Norris University Center and University Library’s first floor are scheduled to open by the time classes start Sept. 23.

The University has planned gender-open bathrooms in Kresge Hall, which will begin a multi-year construction project this quarter, and the Sports Pavilion and Aquatics Center, which is currently under construction.

“What we’re trying to do is make these facilities available across campus,” Cubbage said, noting the University wants to ensure at least one gender-open bathroom in each new or renovated building.

NU is also working to add them to existing buildings when possible, Cubbage said. The project to construct more gender-open restrooms started this year after it was identified as a priority for the undergraduate budget and was given additional funding.

“I think this is an important step in making our campus … oppose gender-binary thinking,” said Rainbow Alliance co-president Peter Cleary in an email. “If Northwestern were to keep ‘male’ and ‘female’ gendered restrooms, that sends a message that (transgender), gender-queer and gender-nonconforming students do not exist or that they are not a priority.”

Norris officials first announced in July that the male and female multi-stall restrooms on the building’s third floor would be converted to gender-open restrooms without undergoing any structural changes. At the time, officials said the change would be made before the start of Fall Quarter.

The transition, however, has not yet happened, and in an interview Thursday, Cubbage could not confirm which floor the gender-open restroom would be located in Norris. He also said the University decided multi-stall gender-open bathrooms are not “logistically possible” so every new gender-open bathroom will be single-person.

Rohan Zhou-Lee (Bienen ’13), who does not identify with a gender, criticized the original decision to place Norris bathrooms on the third floor and said it does not adequately serve students.

“It’s a good idea, but at the same time it’s one of those things that’s designed to fail,” Zhou-Lee said. “The location isn’t one frequented by a large part of the student body. Only certain student groups go there.”

Cubbage also said he did not know details about the construction of a gender-open restroom on Norris’ Underground level, though Norris director Kelly Schaefer told The Daily in August that such a bathroom was in the works.

As of Thursday, Norris officials directed requests for comment to Cubbage.

Cubbage said the location of new gender-open restrooms in Norris depends on where existing bathrooms are located so Facilities Management can avoid constructing new bathrooms.

The final design for the gender-open bathrooms’ signs is still under discussion.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to comply with the AP Stylebook’s recommended language.

Tyler Pager contributed reporting. 

Email: aliceyin2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @alice__yin


Previous stories on this topic:

    Norris plans to add gender open bathroom to Underground
    Norris to add gender open restrooms to third floor
    Northwestern community evaluates culture, resources for transgender students


 

Comments