Dean Gulati responds to gender neutral bathroom opinion piece

Dear Em [Panetta ‘20] and all students, particularly those concerned with ensuring that we have gender inclusive practices in place on campus (and particularly bathrooms that meet the needs of students who do not identify on the gender binary),

First of all, to Em. I wanted to take a moment to thank you so much for your op-ed in The Weekly about the Gender Inclusive Restroom project. It was a very important piece and really helped us to identify a flaw in our work that needed to be addressed right away. Specifically, you noted, “I want to take a moment to discuss the ‘full map of gender inclusive restrooms’ mentioned in the letter. The attached link brings up ‘Berg’s online campus map, which lists all campus-owned buildings with at least one gender-neutral restroom. Yet here’s the kicker: there is absolutely no information about where to actually find the restrooms once inside the doors. Considering the sizes of the buildings in question, the map is about as useful as a flashlight on the sun.” This was about the most spot on quote I have seen in some time! My sincerest apologies and I really appreciate your candor in sharing this feedback.

Within a few hours of reading your article, our Communications department immediately began working with the proper staff to further update the map to include the information you noted was lacking. The existing map has now been updated with additional information, including more detailed descriptions of the location of the bathrooms.  

Gender-Neutral Restrooms (non-residence/public access):
Gabriel House/Wescoe School (first/main floor)
Global Education (all restrooms on first and second floor)
Hillel/Sociology (ground floor and first/main floor)
Hillside House (lower level)
Hoffman House (both first-floor restrooms)
Life Sports Center (first/main floor)
Moyer Hall (two restrooms on the lower level)
Multicultural Center (lower level)
New Science Building (two restrooms on the lower level)
Office of Communications (all restrooms)
Rehearsal House (all/four restrooms throughout building)
Seegers Union (first/main floor, in main lobby outside Wood Dining Commons)
Services Buildings (four restrooms in the plant operations, grounds/paint and print shop offices)
Trexler Library (main floor, past the Writing Center)
Walson Hall (lower level – exterior door facing grounds garage)

I also wanted to take this opportunity to provide a little bit more information about the Gender Inclusive Working group to the broader community. This committee is made up of faculty, staff and four students. Last year, the committee worked on an inventory of all bathrooms on campus, reviewed Allentown building code, met with architects, identified immediate projects and future locations for restrooms to be constructed and got to weigh in on the design of both the Walz and Moyer bathrooms. This committee will be reconvening a few times over the course of this year as there is still much more work to do. If any student or faculty/staff member has additional input that they would like to provide to this committee, I would welcome it!  Please don’t hesitate to reach out and we will make sure your ideas are shared with the committee. You can also reach out to any of the LGBT affinity groups on campus as their presidents have all been invited to participate on this committee as well.  

Em, thank you again for pointing out your concerns. We definitely want to get it right and student feedback is really important to that! 

Dean Gulati

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