Letter to the Editor

I write to express my concern about the Gender Inclusive Facilities Resolution passed by LUCC. The resolution calls on Lawrence University to make as many as two-thirds of all restrooms on campus gender-neutral by next fall, effectively eliminating most gender-specific restrooms. This will reduce privacy and safety for students. 

The Residence Hall Bill of Rights states that students have “the right to enjoy personal privacy.” The current single-occupancy restrooms ensure privacy for transgender students. The current gender-specific restrooms ensure privacy for the rest of the student body. This resolution prioritizes the comfort of transgender students at the expense of others. It does not acknowledge the discomfort of using a restroom with members of the opposite sex and violates the privacy of the majority of students. 

Dramatically expanding the number of gender-neutral restrooms is dangerous. This year, police charged a Connecticut College student with voyeurism for filming 213 shower stall videos of women in a gender-inclusive restroom. These restrooms enabled a criminal to exploit a well-meaning but harmful policy by enabling him to freely enter a restroom with women. This resolution would increase the likelihood of such incidents occurring. 

Numerous clauses in the resolution are inaccurate. The first clause states that “gender inclusive spaces are hidden, in undesirable places, and inaccessible on campus.”  Excluding restrooms, fraternities and sororities, all places on campus are gender-inclusive. The second clause states that “trans students are made to feel unwelcome, often walking up four flights of stairs to use the restroom.” Our campus has many LGBTQ+ students and a variety of resources dedicated to supporting them. Additionally, many students live on a fourth floor, but that does not constitute discrimination. The fifth clause states that the resolution aims to “assist to end one form of discrimination in our community.” Classifying gender-specific spaces as discriminatory is a condemnation of not only gender-specific restrooms, but also all fraternities and sororities on campus. 

This resolution violates privacy and safety for students by forcing them to use restrooms with members of the opposite sex and enables criminals to exploit a tolerant policy to harm students. It is based on misguided arguments and false conclusions. I encourage the student body to consider these arguments as they work to improve privacy and safety.