Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

College to install gender-neutral bathrooms on campus

Augustana College will be installing gender-neutral bathrooms in the next five to six months across campus.

Campbell said while it is not yet determined where or how many bathrooms will be installed, the school is working to find the best and most suitable places.

Gender-neutral means that they will be suitable and available for use for those of any gender identity.

This decision was reached by both administrators and also through the voice of students.

According to Dr. Evelyn Campbell, Dean and Vice President of Student Life at Augustana College, there were several students with who she discussed this issue during the past few years, not necessarily one group. With both administrators and students thinking this was a step that needed to be taken, it made it easier to make the final decision for the administration.

Campbell is one of the main supporters of the installation of these gender neutral bathrooms and made the final decision to install the bathrooms.

She hopes that it will make it apparent to students that everyone’s concerns are taken into consideration.

“We take everyone’s needs seriously and are always trying to make the environment, from bricks and mortar to extra-curricular programs and classes, supportive of the diverse population that makes up our community,” said Campbell.

“I feel weird using the women’s restrooms because I’m not female . . . I identify as non-binary, so I would feel weird about using the men’s as well,” said Augustana Gay Straight Alliance member Jake Phillips.

According to the college’s website, the Gay Straight Alliance is an organization that strives to create a safe environment where student of all identities can interact.

Non-binary means not identifying within the gender binary, meaning not identifying as male or female.

Phillips also raised concerned about safety for transgender students.

“Mostly I’m just afraid of using the men’s because there’s just so many stories . . . about trans people getting attacking for using bathrooms that people think they shouldn’t be using,” said Phillips.

Overall, Campbell said the hope is that installing these bathrooms can lead to a more inclusive campus at Augustana.

This is the first in many steps to help include all students, not just of sexual identity, but of all types.

“The college is always guided by the needs of our students, faculty and staff and as needs change, the college changes,” said Campbell.

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College to install gender-neutral bathrooms on campus