Washington State University is making single-user, gender-inclusive restrooms more accessible and easier to locate for anyone who finds traditional multi-stalled single-gender restrooms inconvenient. This includes parents, those with caregivers or personal attendants, and those who are transgender or gender diverse.
A recently established set of webpages contain a full list of gender inclusive restrooms on each WSU system campus, along with ADA accessibility information and whether restrooms have menstrual products or a changing table available.
“The goal behind the website is to create one easily accessible location for those looking for a gender-inclusive bathroom,” said Matthew Jeffries, director of the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC) and co-chair of the Gender Inclusive & Trans* Support working group.
Facility improvements, effective restroom signage and an easy-to-use website directory are the latest examples of the projects that are a result of WSU’s recent campus culture and climate initiative.
On the Pullman campus, more facilities are being added. Restrooms in Webster, Commons and Clark halls have been recently or are currently planned to be converted to be gender inclusive. In addition, all future new construction or renovations will require the inclusion of single-use facilities as a result of an update made to the WSU Design & Construction Standards in fall 2018.
Gender-Inclusive Restrooms across the System
Unlike traditional, multi-stalled single-gender restrooms, gender-inclusive facilities typically are designed for one user. There are currently 117 gender-inclusive restrooms on the WSU Pullman campus.
Along with facility improvements, efforts continue to expand the availability of menstrual products in men’s, women’s and gender-inclusive restrooms across the system at no cost to students and other users. After several pilot programs on the Pullman campus, operations personnel are working to universalize the distribution process with the goal of having dispensers in place across campus in the fall. Other system-campuses are responding similarly.
Sophomore Aydan Garland-Miner, president and founder of PERIOD, a student-led chapter of a national nonprofit organization, notes that “the administration has been nothing but helpful and supportive” of her group’s effort to address “period-poverty.” PERIOD has been a collaborative partner in the effort to increase the availability of menstrual products on the Pullman campus.
“Having access to free menstrual products on campus alleviates the stress for menstruators that both cannot afford the products, and that need them at a moment’s notice,” Garland-Miner said.
“Compared to what the university spends on toilet paper and towels, plus the fact that we already have custodial staff routinely restocking bathroom facilities, it’s a fairly minimal cost to provide menstrual products at no charge,” said Terry Boston, associate vice president of finance and operations for the Division of Student Affairs.
Both Boston and Dan Costello, assistant vice president of facility services and operations, have worked together closely in conjunction with other campus representatives to implement requests and changes to create accessible facilities and options.
“We are trying to approach this from a gender-inclusive standpoint and provide all of the products people may need in our restroom facilities. This is an equity effort that increases accessibility,” Boston said.
Moving forward, campus representatives will identify more locations in need of gender-inclusive restrooms or lactation spaces across the system as well as universalize signage, all while being mindful of cost and long-term planning. Students can expect to see additional changes when they return to the campuses in the fall.
The efforts are part of the University’s continuing commitment to inclusiveness, which supports the Drive to 25 initiative by helping increase the percentage of diverse students, faculty and staff.
Visit the Division of Student Affairs’ website to learn more about WSU’s campus culture and climate initiative.
- Jaime Nolan, associate vice president for community equity and inclusive excellence, 509-335-3532, firstname.lastname@example.org