View Bill 16-17-32
Senate Bill 16-17-32
|Name:||Providing Gender Inclusive Facilities|
|Sponsor:||Luke Jensen, LGBT Equity Center|
|Proposal:||State Law and our campus non-discrimination policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. That underscores the right of individuals to use gender-specific facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. Facilities include restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, and any other physical space labeled for men or for women. Some on our campus do not understand that reality. There have been instances of individuals "policing" restrooms by telling others who may not look masculine enough to use the men's room or feminine enough to use the women's restroom that they are not allowed in those respective spaces. We should expect that any responses to restroom concerns be focused on behavior. They should never require someone to share or prove their gender identity, and should not profile people purely based on their gender expression or personal appearance, as these categories are protected by the non-discrimination policy|
There is also a long history of public recognition for the need of more gender-inclusive facilities. Gender-inclusive facilities, especially restrooms, provide safer options for transgender people - including trans men, trans women, and nonbinary people who are neither only men nor only women. These facilities also support people who are not transgender but might be perceived as transgender.
An increase in gender-inclusive facilities can also relieve capacity constraints that occur when one gendered restroom is full and another one next to it is not. The recognition of this need dates back to at least 2004, and yet there remain many high-traffic buildings that do not meet this need.
Even in newly renovated spaces such as H.J. Patterson (e.g., rooms 2111 and 3111), single-user restrooms required by campus building codes are being labeled Men and Women when they could easily be gender-inclusive. There have been some ad hoc solutions in older buildings where no single-user option is available. These include The Stamp Student Union, Eppley Recreation Center, and Ritchie Coliseum. The campus would benefit from a more uniform and comprehensive approach.
The University should unambiguously state in policy that all individuals have the right to access gender-specific facilities consistent with their gender identity.
A greater number of gender-inclusive facilities should begin by identifying all single-user restrooms as gender-inclusive. There would be no question about who is allowed to use that facility. Transgender individuals, one of our most vulnerable populations, should not have to, in essence, self-identify as either male or female when using a single-user restroom. It would also provide more options for anyone seeking enhanced privacy for any reason.
Principles guiding the number and capacity of gender-inclusive facilities should be established so that they are within a reasonable distance for all students, staff, and faculty. For example, no one should feel compelled to go to a different building simply to use the restroom. There should also be a sufficient number so that no one needs to wait an unreasonable amount of time. For older buildings, that means converting a small number of multiple-user gender-specific restrooms to gender-inclusive. For new construction and major renovations, that would likely mean multiple-user gender-inclusive restrooms. This is especially true for buildings with high traffic.
Gender-inclusive facilities should be easy to locate. Our campus map now indicates the location of such facilities, but it is impractical to call up the map whenever the need arises. Sufficient and uniformly placed signage should indicate the location of the closest gender-inclusive restrooms.
There should be clarity regarding responsibility for the accuracy of the campus map. It can only be as accurate as the information recorded in the University's database. There have been instances when changes have been made and the database has not been updated.
Signage for gender-inclusive facilities should be uniform across campus and should avoid using gendered graphics. Rather, signage should focus on what's in the room, not who can use it.
The University should address the issue of providing gender-inclusive restrooms in existing buildings where no major renovation is planned. This would likely require a multi-year plan to convert some existing restrooms into multiple-user gender-inclusive restrooms.
For new construction and major renovations, the design of the facilities should maximize privacy for each toilet stall to include the actual stall (floor to ceiling walls or partitions) and the placement of sinks. For conversion of existing multiple-user restrooms into gender-inclusive spaces, standard specifications should be established to enhance the privacy of each toilet (no direct line of sight into the stall, minimal clearance between the partition and the floor and ceiling) and account for the presence of urinals.
A policy should be enacted that provides clarity and guidance on the meaning of non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression and the provision of physical facilities. This would be similar to policies VI-1:00(C) University of Maryland, College Park Policy on Inclusive Language and VI-1:00(D) University of Maryland Disability & Accessibility Policy and Procedures.
This policy should clearly state the right of individuals to use gender-specific facilities in accordance with their gender identity. It should also call for identifying all single-user facilities as gender-inclusive.
The policy should require consistent signage for all gender-inclusive facilities and signage within each building directing individuals to the nearest gender-inclusive restroom.
For multiple-user gender-inclusive facilities, the policy should state principles for establishing their number and construction. It should name those responsible for establishing consistent specifications for both new construction and the conversation of existing facilities. It should also call for the establishment of a multi-year plan to provide gender-inclusive facilities in every building owned or occupied by the University.
|Under Review By:||Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI) Committee|
|Decision Due By:||03/30/2018|
|Actions:||At its first September meeting, the committee heard from the proposer. At its second September meeting, the committee met with the Executive Director of Planning, Design, and Construction (Facilities Management), who discussed the various codes that dictate the types and numbers of restroom facilities in new construction and renovations. Committee members took responsibility for conducting research on practices at other institutions. The committee started discussing these findings at its October meeting, when it also heard from the Associate Athletic Director/Facilities, Operations & Events (Division of Intercollegiate Athletics).|
|Reviewed By:||Senate Executive Committee (SEC)|
|Decision:||The SEC voted to charge the EDI Committe with review of the proposal.|
|Actions:||The SEC reviewed the proposal at its March 27, 2017, meeting and voted to charge the EDI Committee with its review.|
|Next Step:||EDI Committee Review|