Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Multi-stall all-gender washrooms on the horizon for Camosun College

September 20, 2017 by Adam Boyle, staff writer

More all-gender washrooms are coming to Camosun College. Camosun associate director of facilities services Brian Calvert says that while the college just has single-stall all-gender washrooms right now, it’s looking at ways to add multi-stall all-gender washrooms.

“In the new health building there will be a multi-stall all-gender washroom,” he says. “In addition, all floors will have an all-gender washroom in it as well. It will be a bit of a trial but it will give us a better idea of how it works. If things are working well, there’s a possibility that, if funds allow that, we will convert other washrooms around both campuses later on.”

“We were kind of limited by our infrastructure as to building new washrooms. For example, we can’t turn a women’s washroom into an all-gender one,” Calvert says. “It’s quite a costly project and the plan was to implement this so we could address the all-gender community and support that. We took what we have and we’ve tried to make the most of it to help address some of these issues.”

The all-gender washroom located in Camosun’s Richmond House (file photo).

There are currently a number of single-stall washrooms on both campuses that have been converted to be all-gender. Calvert says the main thing that allowed the college to convert these washrooms was that many of the single-stall washrooms were previously bathrooms for people with disabilities.

“Any of the single-stall washrooms that were previously for disabled use, we basically converted,” he says. “Those are the ones that we are monitoring to see if we need to solve any problems. We’ve had it in the past where we had a student that couldn’t use a particular washroom so we added some lifts on both campuses. We’re constantly looking to make all the washrooms as accessible as possible for everyone.”

Camosun College Student Society external executive Rachael Grant says that while multi-stall washrooms would be nice, certain procedures would need to be enacted to make sure that everyone feels safe using the washroom. She also says that having both gendered and all-gendered washrooms is the way to go.

“I think that as long as the college still has gendered washrooms, there are plenty of washrooms overall, and the college does have the capacity to cater to everyone’s needs,” says Grant. “There are a variety of needs that students have when it comes to accessing washrooms safely. A mixture of all-gender washrooms and gendered washrooms is an ideal scenario, and what Camosun’s currently doing is a good start.”

Grant says it comes down to  making sure that all-gender washrooms are abundant; she says that if a student had to cross campus just to find an all-gender washroom, that wouldn’t be a good environment for Camosun to put people in.

“The key point is that there needs to be all-gender washrooms as frequently as possible. In an ideal world each building would have multiple all-gender washrooms available on different floors,” says Grant. “A student shouldn’t have to go across campus to use the washroom. I’m pleased to see that Camosun is moving ahead on their project and is adding more constantly.”

Second-year applied linguistics student Shayan Bueno says that Camosun adding more all-gender washrooms is a good thing, and says that it would be ideal if the college added more to major buildings.

“I think it’s cool that the college is being inclusive of everyone’s identities,” says Bueno. “I’d probably like to see them add more to the Young Building and the Fisher Building, because that’s where most people go for classes at the Lansdowne campus. Overall, I think it’s a good thing they’re doing, though.”

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