Staff editorial: Students must be brought into decision-making process on Kirk bathrooms

By Staff

The recent decision assigning fixed genders to bathrooms in Kirk Residence Hall comes as a shock. After a seemingly general trend across campus toward the creation of more gender-blind spaces, and through careful deliberations, the emergence of this new policy is confusing.Residential Life officials say they chose to implement a fixed-gender bathroom policy in response to student and parent complaints that concerned residents’ privacy and safety in gender-blind bathrooms.

While it is far from certain what exactly the driving motivation behind this move is, we find it hard to believe that the move is a political one or meant to be a slight against students who do not abide by traditional gender norms.

Instead, what is most troubling to us is that this policy came seemingly out of the blue, in stark contrast to the drawn-out deliberations between Residential Life staff and concerned students that eventually led to, among other achievements, the transformation of Grand-Cambridge Apartments into gender-blind spaces.

Another matter of concern to us is that new Residential Life staff appear to be unclear on what, if any, policy was in place before the sudden change.

We don’t seek to trivialize discomfort with gender-blind bathrooms; nor do we seek to curtail discussion of the implications of moving toward gender-aware spaces.

Going to the bathroom in a dorm is something students do all the time. We’re simply asking that policy changes that affect students so dramatically be presented in a clear, cohesive manner, after much careful research. This decision did not meet those basic criteria.