Gender Inclusive Restroom Update: Ensuring Campus Restroom Equity and Accessibility For All
The mission of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME) is to foster an inclusive campus community which respects, honors, and celebrates diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in all of its dimensions.
Part of this work involves collaborating with students and other campus partners to promote initiatives that allow the community to both navigate and access campus spaces easily and equitably. When it became known that students, faculty, and staff were having to leave the buildings they were in during classes or while working, just to access and use a restroom in that worked for them in a different building– students quickly began advocating for more equitable restroom spaces across the campus.
This past summer 2022, the Facilities Office, Dean of Students Office, and ODIME identified restrooms in each of WPI’s non-residential buildings to convert them into gender inclusive restrooms. Throughout the fall 2022 semester, permanent signage was installed to these spaces and updates were made to the Gender Inclusive Restroom map. Additionally, work continues to be done to schedule upgrades and renovations to restrooms across all of WPI's residential communities.
You can find an updated map of all Gender Inclusive Restrooms on campus at maps.wpi.edu under the “Restrooms” tab on the main menu.
Having been personally impacted by the vandalism to the Gender Inclusive Restrooms on campus this fall, it has never been more clear to me why the inclusion of Gender Inclusive Restrooms are necessary for the WPI community. Collectively, we are creating spaces where students and employees can safely access facilities that validate their lived experiences. As part of the Lead with Purpose Strategic Plan, the WPI community is committing to ‘enhance the outcomes and experience of minoritized and underrepresented student populations at WPI’. While we need more Gender Inclusive Restrooms in every building across campus, we also need to educate our community on why these restrooms matter and the positive impact they make on our community as a whole.
-Mia-Kay Fuller (They/Them), Assistant Director for Gender Equity and Sexuality
Beyond this positive change students, faculty, staff, alumni, visitors, and other community members should not notice a significant difference in their facility experience; there is new signage near all types of restrooms in our academic buildings, designating a Gender Inclusive Restroom space.
ODIME staff decided on the language “Inclusive” over “Gender Neutral” as “the definition of neutral is a position of disengagement, not engaging or not aligned with or supporting any side or position. Whereas the definition of inclusive is to include a great deal, or encompassing everything concern, comprehensive. Many people use neutral and inclusive interchangeably, however, there is a difference in being neutral vs being inclusive. Inclusion focuses on affirming all identities rather than not taking a position.” (UC Merced)
Please Note: if you do not feel comfortable in a Gender Inclusive Restroom space there are other male- and female-identified specific restroom spaces in every building on campus. The addition of Gender Inclusive Restroom spaces are meant to provide options for all community members. We encourage you to utilize the restroom you feel most comfortable using.
If you have any feedback/suggestions and/or if you have any questions around gender, gender identity, gender inclusive spaces, or other related topics, please email Mia-Kay Fuller (they/them) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME) promotes and oversees all student facing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) learning experiences, programs, services, trainings, and initiatives for WPI.