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More gender neutral bathrooms on campus

More gender neutral bathrooms on campus

Story by Alexa Chance, Graphic by Allie Hutto

Author: Hutto, Allie/Thursday, November 14, 2013/Categories: Campus

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Luke Knudsen and Charles Eagan proposed more gender neutral restrooms on campus to the Associated Students of Fort Lewis College Senate on Wed., Oct. 23.



“My friend, Luke Knudsen, and I have been talking for a long time about the need for gender neutral bathrooms on campus because using the restroom when you don't pass clearly as male or female can be a pretty scary thing,” Eagan said. “You get funny looks, awkward questions, sometimes yelling or peeking under the stalls of the bathroom, and it can even escalate to threats or violence.”



“Both Luke and I have been talking with many people for some time now about such a need for FLC, and Theresa O'Hare was one correspondent we both thought could assist us,” Eagan said. “She's been on board for quite some time now, and has been suggesting we go to Senate for a while.”



There are currently 15 gender neutral bathrooms on campus. They are located in Berndt, Kroeger, Pine, Reed Library, the Student Life Center, and the Student Union Building. Residence halls are not included and these are public restrooms.



Eagan continued to say that the addition of more gender neutral bathrooms will be beneficial on campus because it will be help students who don't feel comfortable using a binary labeled restroom.



“The lack of bathrooms is inconvenient, because you would have to go all the way back to the Union, and then walk back to your class,” said TJ Trump, student and ASFLC senator. “The ASFLC plans to continue talking about this issue within the next two weeks.”



Mark Mastalski, director of the Leadership Center, also co-advises ASFLC. Mastalski helps to oversee issues regarding student government.



“Last week two students came to student government as guest participants, as anyone can do, and they spoke on behalf of the gender neutral bathrooms,” he said. “It was presented as an idea, as something to convey to student government that they would like to see be expanded on campus.”



Mastalski also said that student government hosted an event called Ideas for Innovation. Students came to this event and gave ideas regarding enhancement of student life on campus.  One of the topics that was brought up was gender neutral bathrooms, so this idea of adding restrooms will more than likely be brought up again.



This is not a new idea, Mastalski said.



“It might be hitting more of the public right now, but it’s been talked about for at least a year,” he said. “It’s just now becoming more knowledgeable to the public.”







 

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