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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

All-gender bathrooms open on fourth libe

< part of summer construction across campus, two allgender restrooms were added to Fourth Libe. These two new restrooms bring the total number of Libe restrooms to six. There are also two located on Third and two located on First Libe. These four bathrooms are exclusive to individuals that identify as either male or female. The addition of the Fourth Libe bathrooms has been in the facilities master plan for a long time.

“We have for several years been looking for opportunities to add all-gender restrooms to campus,” said Steve Spehn, Director of Facilities and Capital Planning. “It started with the construction of the Weitz Center in 2011.” The administration is unable to re-label existing restrooms as “all-gender” because “the College has to be compliant with building code that defines how many restroom fixtures must be designated as men’s and women’s.” Spehn explained. “All-gender, or family-style restrooms, as defined in the building code can be identified once the other requirements are met or under certain exceptions, which Carleton buildings typically do not qualify for,” Spehn said.

While some dormitory restrooms are labeled “for everybody”and others as “gender neutral,” the library set a college and administrative precedent by labeling these new restrooms as “all-gender.” Laura Haave, Director of the Gender & Sexuality Center, said that this labeling is a recommendation the GSC has made to the College.

“Last year, PEAR [Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation] installed an all-gender locker room in the recreation center and asked us about the signage,” said Haave. “It is the recommendation of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professional guidelines to call the restrooms ‘all-gender’ because that is more inclusive to non-binary identifying students compared to the label of ‘gender neutral’.” Specifically, the recommendation of the Consortium is to “aim to have gender-inclusive restrooms in at least half of the administrative and academic buildings on campus,” according to its website.

At Carleton, this aim is unrealized. Although there will be additional all-gender bathroom additions with the new construction at the Weitz Center and the renovation of Scoville Memorial Library, there will continue to be a lack of gender-inclusive restrooms across campus. “The big opportunities will come with new construction or renovation, as including allgender restrooms is part of Carleton’s construction standards,” added Spehn. “But the short answer is there are not many other opportunities to reassign existing restrooms as all-gender.”

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