A look at gender-neutral toilets on campus – The Vanderbilt Hustler
Vanderbilt lags behind similarly ranked institutions with a 77: 1 student ratio for gender-neutral bathrooms.
Vanderbilt is one of the 150 the universities nationwide for recently embracing the use of gender-neutral toilets as part of larger efforts to include LGBTQI +. At time of printing, the university has 176 gender-neutral bathroom, located in 68 residences, university buildings and student centers.
Vanderbilt’s Lambda Association called for the construction of toilets for all genders in university buildings on April 30, 2021 petition with 462 signatures at print.
“Vanderbilt University clearly treats TGNC (non-conforming transgender) students as a lower class than cisgender students when it comes to toilet availability, which negatively impacts their ability to attend classes,” the petition from the Lambda Association.
The most recently installed gender-neutral bathroom was built in the summer of 2019 at the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center (Bcc). This construction was approved after a 2018 petition has collected 523 signatures at time of printing.
Widespread adoption of gender-neutral bathrooms in Vanderbilt stems in part from a 2015 recommendation made by the University Staff Advisory Council and the Office of LGBTQI Life. this graf feels like it should be higher
“Individuals, whether staff, faculty, students, alumni, or visitors to Vanderbilt University, have the right to use washrooms that are consistent and appropriate for their gender identity and / or their gender expression, âsays the recommendation. âBy identifying more single-use toilets on the Vanderbilt campus and converting these toilets into gender spaces, we are not only upholding our policy of equal opportunity and affirmative action, but we are also making Vanderbilt a campus more safe for all students, staff and faculty. â
The recommendation was a collaboration between the Vanderbilt Lambda Association, the Office of LGBTQI Life, the Office of the Dean of Students and VSG. The recommendation called for converting all single-sex single bathrooms to non-sexist bathrooms and mapping these facilities.
The Vanderbilt Lambda Association and VSG did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment.
Vanderbilt currently has a student ratio of 77: 1 to gender-neutral toilets, the quotient of total student enrollment, and the number of gender-neutral toilets. This proportion is below Duke University ratio of approximately 70: 1 and Brown University approx. 48: 1 ratio.
The university, however, does not have a uniform availability of non-sexist bathrooms in the residences. While newer residential halls, such as Nicholas S. Zeppos Residential College, largely have gender-neutral washrooms on all floors, other more historic halls, such as East House and Gillette House, only have semi – non-sexist bathrooms on certain floors.
Students living in older residential accommodation have found the lack of accommodation problematic and believe that gender-neutral bathrooms are an important dynamic for dorm life.
“I can’t use the women’s toilet, obviously – it’s a Title IX violation – so I would just appreciate them having more non-sex, because that way I can use the toilet on the floor â, said Mahaan Uttam, a resident of Gillette.
The Housing and Residential Experience Office (OHARE) and the Office of LGBTQI life did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment regarding disparities in the availability of gender-neutral bathrooms. The two offices did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment on the existence of future plans to make the Vanderbilt toilets more gender-inclusive.
McGill Hall is a residence where residents have the opportunity to vote on the categorization of the fourth floor washrooms. McGill Council holds an annual vote to determine if the fourth-floor washrooms are gender-neutral. Depending on the outcome of the vote, the toilets are either labeled as all gender or gender specific. This practice is permitted due to McGill’s unique autonomy from the Office of Housing and Residential Experience. The bathrooms on the second and third floors are gendered and non-gendered, respectively.
âWith McGill, we have three pillars of our community, which are inclusive community, creative expression and free thought,â said McGill President Kelly Morgan. âFor an inclusive community, one of our long-standing initiatives is to ensure that gender-neutral bathrooms are available in the building.
According to Morgan, voting for the fourth-floor washroom generally favors the gender-neutral option.
âAlmost all of the people still vote for the fourth floor to be gender-neutral,â Morgan said. âI think it’s because it’s much more welcoming to different people from the LGBTQI community, of which we have a very, very strong contingency at McGill.