Hannah Collings – Staff Writer
CLARION, Pa.- Clarion University has converted single-stall restroom facilities in 12 buildings into all-gender bathrooms.
These bathrooms were relabeled to promote and expand the inclusivity of Clarion University, said Interim Director of Social Equity Amy Salsgiver.
The Office of Social Equity, Facilities, The Commission on LGBT+ Concerns and the Presidential Commission and Allies joined forces to implement this change.
These newly labeled restrooms are not specifically for transgender students or members of the LGBT+ community, Salsgiver said, but for anyone seeking privacy when using the restroom.
“Transgender individuals are welcome to use any restroom they wish, but the all-gender bathrooms are meant to promote increased inclusivity across campus for all students,” she said.
“We started looking at this before the Obama administration released its statement saying to have the all-gender bathrooms,” she added.. “We saw that there was a need. It’s not even a gender issue. I prefer the single-use restrooms for myself, especially when I have my young son on campus.”
Salsgiver said over 90 percent of feedback she has received from this project has been positive.
Salsgiver pointed out Director of Facilities Eric Martin and Director of Auxiliary Operations Chad Thomas personally visited each building on campus and identified those with single-stall restrooms which were well-suited to their purposes.
This initiative cost little money and effort, said Salsgiver. The university did little to convert the restrooms, giving all new signage and some of them new locks.
Allies was consulted on the most appropriate wording for the signage on the facilities, said Salsgiver.
On these signs, the restroom icon for women is next to the icon for men. A vertical line separates these from an icon of a person in a wheelchair, meaning the restrooms are disability-accessible. Below these pictures is the word “Restroom.”
Salsgiver said the awareness about a need for such facilities first began when a single-stall restroom was included in the design for the fourth floor of Becht Hall for its 2014-2015 renovation.
“We probably knew in the spring of 2016 – so that would have been the previous year – that there were people asking if we have these available.”
Clarion University announced the all-gender bathrooms in an email to all students last Thursday. This email said that 11 bathrooms are all-gender, leaving out Harvey Hall.
The recently converted restrooms are located in McEntire Maintenance; Becker Hall; Marwick-Boyd Fine Arts Center; Gemmell Student Center; Campus and Valley View Suites; the Speech and Hearing Clinic; Becht Hall; Harvey Hall; Eagle Commons; Carrier Administration Building and the Suites on Main North.
There have been all-gender restrooms in Gemmell and Becht since its respective renovations. The University finished the Gemmell renovation during the fall semester.
Salsgiver reminded Clarion University continually promotes equity and inclusivity. The Office of Social Equity is planning a face-to-face diversity training workshop in which faculty will participate. “[It] will be a really in-depth workshop on how to deal with inclusivity and diversity and equity,” she said.
Upcoming events that promote equity and inclusivity for students include the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes in April and Clarion University’s first annual Lavender Graduation in May.