UL Lafayette to Designate Gender-Neutral Restrooms
According to a post by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's newspaper, the school will be changing gender assignments on several on-campus restrooms.
The Vermilion is reporting that the university is in the process of identifying restrooms on campus that are single-use (designed for 1 person at a time) that can be designated as gender-neutral.
Patricia Cottonham, the Vice President of Student Affairs at UL is quoted in the article as saying that actions are being taken to convert restrooms designated for men only or women only to those that are not gender-specific.
Having a list of all of the single-use restrooms on campus, she says, is a great starting point:
So we have a good sort of starting point on which bathrooms we should try to convert to gender-neutral and not sort of a male or female only destination. So we have those identified. The president has given the directive that he wants us to move forward with the new signage. - Patricia Cottonham, VP of Student Affairs at UL, via The Vermilion
It is not clear is Cottonham was referring to the president of student affairs o
At least one staff member has already taken redesignating a restroom into her own hands by hanging a paper sign on one of the single-use restrooms in her department.
According to the story in The Vermilion, an associate professor in the biology department requested "official" gender-neutral or gender-inclusive signage for the restroom in the department. Beth Stauffer, Ph.D., was apparently not satisfied with the signage the University provided:
Stauffer is quoted as saying that she is just trying to make the campus more inclusive for her students.
The department had said ‘we want this to be gender-neutral’. We have students who identify as the whole spectrum of gender or non-binary or trans, and so we want to make sure that our building is inclusive. - Beth Stauffer, Ph.D., UL Lafayette via The Vermilion
Replies to Stauffer's Tweet expressed disappointment in the "Men/Women" sign that the university installed on the gender-neutral restroom, with one Twitter user pointing out that it's as simple as attaching a sign that reads "Bathroom".
Cottonham summed up the efforts by the university to be gender-inclusive like this:
...we’re just hoping to make life for our students more comfortable - Patricia Cottonham, UL via The Vermilion
If you are not certain whether you are in favor of gender-neutral restrooms on UL's campus, ask yourself this question: How will these restrooms affect my life?