WESTWOOD—On July 7, Associated Students UCLA will begin construction on the first gender-neutral restroom in Ackerman Union.
The restroom will be located on Ackerman Union’s A-level, across from existing restrooms. It will include a toilet and sink for one person. The project is estimated to cost a little under $150,000, and should be completed in mid-September, according to Roy Champawat, director of the student union.
This construction comes in response to requests from both the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community at UCLA, and from the UC Office of the President.
In September 2014, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that “she is moving to adopt measures aimed at providing a more inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, staff and faculty at UC.” To do so, Napolitano directed the UCs to, among other measures, “begin converting single-stall restrooms into gender-neutral facilities and incorporating gender-inclusive restrooms in new and renovated UC buildings, where practicable.”
ASUCLA undergraduate representative Carly Calbreath, who pushed for the gender-neutral restroom in Ackerman Union in September 2014, says she is disappointed by the limited scope of the directive. She believes that UCLA’s efforts to establish gender-neutral bathrooms will focus on converting single-stall restrooms, and that it won’t be enough.
“If you walk through Ackerman, or any other building on campus, how often do you see a single-stall restroom?” the Daily Bruin quotes her as asking.
Raja Bhattar, Director of the LGBT Campus Resource Center and member of the UCOP LGBT advisory group, said that they felt the Ackerman Union restroom was an important first step.
“The student union is the center of student life at UCLA, and ASUCLA would be able to send an institutionalized message of inclusion by constructing the restroom,” Bhattar told the Daily Bruin. They continued, “At UCLA, we’re continuing our strategy of using our resources to build facilities all identities of the LGBT community can feel comfortable using. I’m proud of [how far] we have come, but there’s still work to do.”
According to UCLA spokesperson Tod Tamberg, there are currently 59 gender-neutral restrooms on campus, 11 of which have been added since November 2014.