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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Gender-neutral bathrooms could be encouraged in each floor of new buildings

Student+Body+Vice+President+Sophie+Martins+speaks+to+the+Student+Senate+on+Nov.+1.
Allison Campbell
Student Body Vice President Sophie Martins speaks to the Student Senate on Nov. 1.

The Student Government Association (SGA) introduced a resolution that would encourage Wichita State to provide one gender-neutral restroom on each floor in all new buildings on the main campus.

The resolution would also encourage Wichita State to provide education and awareness programs over gender diversity and the importance of gender-neutral restrooms.

The resolution states that due to the passing of Senate Bill 180, students who do not identify with their sex assigned at birth can feel uncomfortable and unsafe using gendered restrooms. 

Senate Bill 180, which went into effect on July 1, prevents transgender and intersex people from using restrooms, locker rooms and other areas that align with their gender identity.

In June, the Wichita State administration said in a statement to The Sunflower that SB 180 does not have a clear direction, and it did not anticipate any changes to existing policies or procedures at the time. 

Student Body Vice President Sophie Martins, who is the primary sponsor of the resolution, read the resolution to the Student Senate for the first time on Wednesday evening.

Martins said that this resolution on gender-neutral bathrooms extends beyond infrastructure and would create an inclusive and safe environment at Wichita State, accommodating people with gender-diverse identities.

 “For students who do not feel comfortable in gendered restrooms, these restrooms provide a safe space to use the facilities without fear of judgment or discrimination,” Martins said.

During the summer, Martins collaborated with Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies President Dawson Jacques on a graphic of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Jacques called the map more detailed than other campus resources.

Jacques, a co-sponsor of the resolution, previously discussed his idea for an SGA resolution that would encourage gender-neutral restrooms in new buildings, and he helped with this resolution’s language.

In addition, the resolution asks that Wichita State’s interactive map include user-friendly ways to find gender-neutral restrooms and remain updated to accurately show the locations of gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

“(The interactive map) is not showing all of (the gender-neutral bathrooms) that are still current on campus,” Martins said. “So that is the specific reason why we wanted to add that, just to make sure that the map is staying updated.”

As of Nov. 3, the interactive map displays single-occupancy restrooms in the Ablah Library, Corbin Education Center, Fiske Hall, Heskett Center, Jabara Hall, John Bardo Center, Wallace Hall and Wilner Auditorium.

The interactive map does not show the single-occupancy bathrooms in the Rhatigan Student Center, Morrison Hall, Eck Stadium, McKnight Hall or the Media Resource Center.

Lainie Mazzullo-Hart, director of news and media relations, told The Sunflower in an email that the interactive map’s display of the single-occupancy bathrooms is still in the process of being completed.

“Strategic Communications is working with the Office of Civil Rights, Title IX & ADA Compliance for the up-to-date list that will allow that (map’s) layer (of single-occupancy bathrooms) to be completed — which should be soon,” Mazzullo-Hart said.

The resolution would also include that gender-neutral restrooms be marked with signage.

In June, Emily Patterson, the executive director of Facilities Planning, said her team had ordered updated signage, indicating “single occupancy” instead of “male” or “female.” Patterson also said Facilities had changed over 10 bathrooms across campus and that new buildings, like Woolsey Hall, included single occupancy restrooms.   

Because this resolution is a first read, it will go to the accessibility subcommittee and the diversity and inclusion committee before it goes back to the Senate.

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About the Contributors
Courtney Brown
Courtney Brown, News Editor
Courtney Brown is one of the news editors for The Sunflower. She previously worked as a reporter and assistant news editor. Brown uses she/her pronouns.
Allison Campbell
Allison Campbell, Editor in Chief
Allison Campbell is the editor in chief of The Sunflower. Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.

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