Gender-open bathroom on Norris third floor set to open Winter Quarter

Olivia Exstrum, Campus Editor

A gender-open bathroom on the third floor of Norris University Center will open early Winter Quarter, a Norris official said.

Construction for the bathroom began Monday, Dec. 15. The bathroom was originally scheduled to open before the start of Fall Quarter 2014.

“Norris is 40 years old, and given the type of construction that we have … basically it makes it challenging to make certain modifications to existing structures,” said Dan Foley, assistant director for facilities at Norris. “Code issues came up, so the project was stalled as we sorted out the details for where we were going to put it and where we were going to install it.”

A gender-open bathroom on the second floor of Norris opened mid-November. The restrooms, which the University calls “all-gendered bathrooms,” are single-person rooms.

Although Norris officials said in July the third floor’s existing male and female multi-stall restrooms would be changed to gender-open bathrooms, Foley said due to code compliance issues, the new restroom will be separate, and the existing restrooms will not be modified.

The University and Norris have discussed opening similar restrooms in University Library and on the Norris Underground level, as well as in the new Kellogg School of Management building, Kresge Hall and the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, which are currently under construction. University spokesman Al Cubbage said he didn’t have any information on future plans for gender-open bathrooms.

In July Devin Moss, former director of what is now the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, told The Daily his office surveyed student groups and staff located on the third floor of Norris about the possibility of gender-open bathrooms, which Moss said elicited a positive response.

While the search continues for Moss’ replacement, Brent Turner, executive director of student involvement said Moss’ departure from the University in July created an opportunity for different offices to collaborate on implementing the bathrooms. Turner said he didn’t know if Norris is currently working with anyone from the Resource Center. A representative from the center could not be reached for comment.

“Within Student Affairs, we’re all pretty strong partners,” Turner said. “Since that position has not been hired, I like how we’ve all rallied to support the LGBTQ area. It should not just be one office. It’s all of our responsibility to cultivate inclusive communities.”

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