Bathroom Brigade continues efforts to push for more all-gender restrooms

Rachael Garner/Staff

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Students lined up flyers and cups of fake urine near Sather Gate and various other campus locations Wednesday to urge faster action for the installation of all-gender bathrooms on campus.

The installations were put up on the west-side entrance of campus and in campus restrooms, according to Sben Korsh, a first-year graduate student. In September, UC President Janet Napolitano approved the incorporation of more gender-inclusive restrooms on UC campuses, but according to protesters — who called themselves the Bathroom Brigade — action taken by the campus on this issue has been too slow.

“Imagine how many times you go to the bathroom every day. Imagine if (every time) you had to walk across campus,” said David Showalter, a second-year graduate student. “I would suspect that these actions will keep happening until there’s concrete change.”

The action follows similar protests this semester, including an occupation of the bathrooms in Dwinelle Hall last month. According to Korsh, those advocating more all-gender bathrooms also delivered a petition to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and sent letters to deans, department chairs and building managers.

According to Christine Shaff, director of communications for the campus real estate division, developments in the last couple of months include the renovation and opening of two gender-inclusive restrooms in Dwinelle Hall and the redesignation of two restrooms on the eighth floor of Barrows Hall as all-gender. Additionally, a group of facilities staff has conducted a survey to identify opportunities for converting more restrooms on campus to be gender inclusive.

“We’re working on identifying funding to continue that work,” Shaff said. “It takes a bit of design work and engineering. … We’re moving ahead and doing our best to make progress.”

Protesters, though, urged the implementation of all-gender bathrooms in every campus building by fall of this year and have asked to see more concrete plans. The flyers they distributed included instructions to call the campus’s real estate office to advocate faster action on this issue. Shaff said she received about five or six calls in response.

According to Shaff, the campus also plans to include all-gender bathrooms in soon-to-be-opened buildings. She said the campus is “looking for opportunities wherever we can” to reassign restrooms and is currently prioritizing more teaching-focused buildings.

Melissa Wen is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @melissalwen.