Students seek gender neutral restrooms in science building

Naida Gonzalez, Reporter

Spectrum, a Park University club, has been working with Park Student Government Association and the dean of students to implement gender neutral restrooms in Findlay-Wakefield Science Hall.

During a meeting, members of the club mentioned that there are gender neutral restrooms in almost every building on campus besides Science Hall. According to the proposal submitted to Michelle Myers, Park University’s provost, gender neutral restrooms are an important part of providing safe spaces for transgender and gender nonconforming students.

Some students do not feel safe or comfortable using the restroom that matches their sex.

The plan is for facilities to install locks and new signage, which will be at minimal cost to the student organizations or Student Services.

Alison Overcash, Spectrum Club’s president, reached out to Christian Leonard, PSGA’s president, to inquire about the possibility of transforming one of the gendered restrooms into a non-gendered restroom. In a group meeting with Spectrum leadership, Leonard suggested reaching out to Dean of Students Jayme Uden to further the process.

Overcash and Leonard met at the Science Hall with Uden to pick out the restrooms that will be converted into the neutral restrooms. The biggest concern was choosing a restroom that did not already have a lot of traffic as to not inconvenience students and faculty. The group ended up settling for the second floor, with the basement as a back-up option.

Olivia Lauhoff, Spectrum’s secretary, said that her former college had a few gender neutral restrooms, but not nearly as many as Park.

“Having gender neutral bathrooms accessible in every building makes students feel safer and more included,” Lauhoff said. “I think it’s important that people have the option to use these bathrooms if that’s what’s most comfortable.”

According to Overcash, the response from the provost is being awaited.

“We hope to get this advance the process and have the restrooms by the fall 2020,” said Overcash.