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UGBC Resolution Supports All-Gender Bathrooms as Poster Campaign Launches

Several unapproved posters advocating for all-gender bathroom rights were found in at least one bathroom in Stokes Hall on Friday morning. The posters have since been removed.

The Undergraduate Government of Boston College passed a resolution Sunday night, The Resolution Concerning Single Stall Restrooms, which called for a change in signage for all single stall bathrooms in academic buildings to be gender neutral. The resolution was sponsored by Josh Frazier, MCAS ’19.

Frazier said the resolution would benefit both non-gender conforming students, as well as the general student population.

Currently, there are around 18 single-stall bathrooms scattered among O’Neill Library, Gasson Hall, Cushing Hall, Campion Hall, and Burns Library. The single-stall bathrooms are currently designated male or female. Frazier noted that not all male designated single-stall bathrooms have urinals, and that the largest cost incurred for the University would potentially be the addition of tampon and pad dispensers in the current male designated restrooms. The only proposed cost, however, is the change of signage.

Meredith McCaffrey, executive vice president of UGBC and MCAS ’17, said that not all women’s restrooms currently have tampon and pad dispensers, and so the University may not invest in them for gender-neutral bathrooms.  

Frazier noted that signage is something that the administration takes very seriously, and must be approved by various offices. He also said that administration has been very receptive to this proposal.

Frazier said that non-binary conforming students and transgender students are put in a very uncomfortable position choosing between a multi-stall or single-stall restroom of a gender with which the student may not identify.

“But also, just from an accessibility point of view, I know coming out of classes on Gasson third floor, seeing a line of women down the hallways, when there isn’t a single person outside of the men’s room,” Frazier said. “And the same might be for the men’s room on other floors. It just makes sense.”

Following a short debate period, Drew Boland, CSOM ’17, moved to a blind vote. The resolution passed 16-2.

The issue of dropping the gender designation of single-use bathrooms was discussed recently in meetings I had with UGBC and with students representing the LGBTQ community,” Dean of Students Thomas Mogan said in an email. “At this point, no decisions have been made.”

The poster in the first floor Stokes bathroom was attributed to “BC Bathroom Access,” and has a link to the group’s website. The group will release fliers each week in April, according to the website.

“Given the lack of safe, non-gendered bathrooms at Boston College, trans and non-binary folks are put at risk,” the website says.

The poster featured a quote from transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox.

“These bills are not about bathrooms,” the poster said. “They’re about whether trans people have the right to exist in public space.”

The poster also included a stamp that said “Approved by Freedom of Speech.” The design of this stamp is similar to the stamp that the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) places on posters it approves.

OSI has a specific posting policy which states that posters should not only be approved by OSI, but should also not “contain any material that is inconsistent with the community standards” of BC.

The policy outlines areas in which fliers can be posted, which includes the O’Neill Library stairwell, the McElroy Commons stairwell, and bulletin board in academic buildings. It states that posters are not allowed to be put up in any bathrooms on campus. The group that posted the fliers acknowledged it is against University policy to do so, but they will continue to do it to raise awareness and create change.

The posters represent another event in an ongoing campaign for gender-neutral bathrooms at BC. In late February, posters with the words “Gender Neutral Not By Institution But By Solidarity,” were found on single bathroom doors on campus. The graduate student who created that poster, who is trans* and requested anonymity to discuss an issue that could have negative repercussions for their health, said they were not involved with this new campaign.

The Graduate Pride Alliance (GSA), although not affiliated with the posting of the fliers, has been a strong advocate for all-gender bathrooms.

“With BC Law School and the McMullen Museum having all-gender restrooms in their buildings, it is time that the main campus and Brighton campus get on the right side of history,” Dylan Lang, president of GSA and SSW ’17, said in an email. “BC undergraduates and graduates are extremely passionate about these poster campaigns [and these posters] are more evidence that BC students will continue to speak out against injustices and demand all-gender restrooms.”

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

April 2, 2017