By: Dakota Roach
One of the many topics running through Student Senate, as of late, is the prospect of furthering the availability of all-gender bathrooms on campus. “All-gender” is the prefered term as opposed to “gender neutral.” This is due in part to raising awareness among the general populace that along with the common, binary genders of male and female, there are other genders as well, such as cisgender, transgender, etc.
After many student surveys made available, and much debate over the data collected, Student Senate was able to hear the case for implementing more on campus all-gender bathrooms. As Student Senate member, Austin Phillips, said “This issue is not just a campus wide predicament, but a nation wide dispute over allowing these restrooms.” Some states, like North Carolina, have gone so far as to create new laws as to who can use what restroom. However, being a liberal arts college campus with an engaged student body, it is little surprise that the issue of all-gender bathrooms presented itself on IC’s campus. One of the students who brought the issue to Student Senate’s attention, Hannah Milhouse, was able to expound upon the issue, still considered a work in progress, “The goal was (and still is) to change 10 bathrooms on campus to all-gender bathrooms. This includes changing the signs, adding menstrual product canisters, etc. where needed.”
Student Senate has since taken a vote on the issue of all-gender restrooms on campus, and has approved the measure. Since this event, and ad-hoc committee has been formed by student senate to pursue the matter further. After the initial vote, an immediate resolution was written for President Farley to look over. The resolution asks that two restrooms on the second floor of Kirby be changed to all-gender restrooms. Furthermore, Student Senate member Austin Phillips stated, “Meetings are held every other Monday afternoon at 5pm in the Student Senate conference room on the second floor of Cain for discussion of the restrooms [sic] and the meetings are open to the student body. We would highly encourage students to come voice their opinions about the status of the restrooms on campus.”
With this information in hand, it seems that the issue and implementation of all-gender bathrooms on campus will be an ongoing procedure. Where students can expect to see these new all-gender bathrooms allocated, or when, remains to be seen. Only time will tell which restrooms on campus get a new makeover into all-gender ones. As of now, the only all-gender restrooms available on campus are single occupancy. This appears to be the continuing trend for the foreseeable future, with the addition of the two restrooms in Kirby. Other all-gender restrooms already in place include those in lower Baxter, first floor Pixley, first floor Whipple hall, and first floor Tanner, to name a few. As stated by resident student activist, Hannah Milhouse, quoting from other encouraging student sentiments at the time, “There will be more bathrooms for everyone and it will help create a warmer and more inclusive environment for students.” Although the measure still needs review from president Farley before further implementation, it appears that the all-gender bathroom agenda for Illinois College’s campus is a go.
Dakota Roach, from Jacksonville, Illinois, is a senior triple majoring in English Literature, Expository and Creative Writing, with minors in Psychology and Communication. Dakota is an active member of CEA, the co-president of Forte, and is a writer for The Rambler.