The newest resolution passed by Hamline’s Undergraduate Student Congress (HUSC) calls upon Hamline to create at least one fully accessible, non-gendered bathroom in all academic buildings and to only schedule classes in buildings with this adjustment.
This resolution was passed in the HUSC general assembly with no opposition on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
“It’s calling upon every academic building on campus to have at least one bathroom that fits everyone’s needs,” said HUSC president Andrew Weston, who wrote the resolution.
Achieving that would mean creating an all-gendered or non-gendered bathroom that is fully accessible according to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
These ADA requirements include such things as proper toilet height, having automatic flushing mechanisms as well as automatic sinks and soap and towel dispensers.
“Making sure that everyone is able to use the bathroom in every single building is the goal,” Weston said.
The resolution also calls upon the Registrar’s Office to in the future only schedule courses in buildings that have accessible restrooms for all students.
Out of eight academic buildings on campus, three of them have non-gendered bathrooms. These are Drew Fine Arts, Drew Science Center and West Hall. Of these three, only one of them is a fully accessible, non-gendered bathroom. This is in Drew Fine Arts.
“Going to the bathroom is a basic need. It’s a basic thing that everyone should be able to do and everyone should be able to feel safe doing,” said senior rep and former HUSC president Liam Davis Temple. “It’s inherently not fair if there are some people who are less safe going to the bathroom on campus or are not able to go because there are not enough bathrooms that are accessible and are inclusive of non-binary and trans and all people.”
Weston is personally invested in this resolution.
“It kinda started out with me being in the library and feeling frustrated and uncomfortable by the fact that I didn’t feel safe using any of those gendered bathrooms in that building,” Weston said. “Everyone else, they can just walk slightly down the hall, and [I was] just feeling really frustrated and a little hurt honestly about that and knowing there are many other people who are in the same boat… Something can easily be done about that, we just need to ask for it, or demand it.”
HUSC is currently not providing any funding to go toward remodeling and updating bathrooms to achieve this goal.
“HUSC will likely make some financial contribution to ensure that this can happen across the board. I can’t say that we for sure will because I am one person on a group of 35 or so people. I don’t make the decisions, we all make discussions together,” Weston said. “I am hoping through the capital call process a large portion of the funding can be achieved there and if not I guess going to outside sources. Although I sincerely and truly hope that we never have to get to that point.”
A similar resolution passed two years ago to install 14 automatic push buttons for bathroom doors. HUSC allocated $40,000 from its yearly budget towards this project.
“The facilities are the administration’s responsibility,” Temple said. “Making students feel safe is at the end of the day their responsibility. Having accessible, inclusive facilities is not HUSC’s responsibility to fund and build those. However, there’s lots of times we step up when it’s not there.”