North Texas Daily

University has plans for more individual restrooms

University has plans for more individual restrooms

October 21
08:37 2013

Mollie Jamison / Staff Writer

Charmin toilet paper launched an application last summer called “Sit or Squat,” an interactive online program that provides the quality and location of local bathrooms. The website and accompanying mobile application allows users to vote and write reviews on bathrooms across the country.

For people who prefer individual bathrooms, finding a place to sit, stand or squat might not be that easy at UNT.

The Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity and the UNT Facilities are working on including individual bathrooms in building plans across campus and creating a website or map that shows their location.

“All new construction ought to have some single stalls to accommodate families, disabled people with assistants and people who fear gender-based hostility,” associate history professor Clark Pomerleau said

Pomerleau, who is also the faculty adviser for GLAD: UNT’s Queer Alliance, said it is a problem not to have individual bathrooms in places like Willis Library because the closest ones are in residence halls, which get locked at night.

There are currently more than 75 individual restrooms on campus in more than 30 different buildings, but the university has not begun construction on any new individual restrooms.

“We have quite a lot of them on campus,” said Helen Bailey, director of UNT’s Facilities Management and Construction. “The plan is to provide them in new buildings as we design them. Though planning is done, we are not proceeding with any of the construction.  If the VP of Equity and Diversity office determines this to be a priority and funding is identified, then we will get started.”

A remodel list identifies bathrooms that could be adapted to become individual bathrooms. Changing the bathroom door signs on current bathrooms and installing locks with occupancy indicators will cost $300 each said Cassie Clough, assistant director for research and assessment in the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Clough said the cost to actually remodel a bathroom is much greater.

“Equity and Diversity doesn’t necessarily have the money to change all these signs,” Clough said. “The money is the issue. We really can’t have it come just out of our pocket. We know that if it needs to be changed, we need to identify it. It’s kind of at this awkward place where we know some changes need to be made, but we can’t pay for all of it.”

Clough said she believes every new building will have individual bathrooms in them, but the issue is how to modify older buildings to fit this need.

Clough also said that the transgender task force on campus created a list of bathrooms that can hopefully be put on a website so students will know where to find them.

“We also have a resource guide that has been developed for transgender individuals and that bathroom list will be embedded in that guide,” Clough said. “If possible I would love to get an interactive map. Ideally that’s where we’re headed.”

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