HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Officials are renovating bathrooms at Marshall University in an effort to make the campus more inclusive for transgender, gay, and lesbian students.
So far, officials have renovated four bathrooms in the school’s busier buildings, a change that required little renovation other than changing the sign on the door and putting in locks that show whether it’s occupied, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.
“In reviewing the campus, we decided there was a need for a more inclusive environment for all students, as well as faculty and staff,” Brandi Jacobs-Jones, Marshall’s chief of operations, told the news site.
Jacobs-Jones said the renovations occurred over the college’s winter break and cost about $700. Four restrooms were renovated: two in the library and one in two other main buildings. Mark Cutlip, facilities director, told the Daily Mail the changes also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We’ve identified other spaces we would like to see changed,” Cutlip said. “But more renovation is needed for those.”
Jacob-Jones said the restroom changes are part of the Marshall’s long-term plan to make the campus more accessible for gay, lesbian and transgender students and staff.
“There still needs to be a greater conversation with students and faculty, and maybe there are some changes in policy that need made,” she said. “But we are determined to meet the needs of all students, faculty and staff.”
One of the changes on the way may be gender neutral dorms, Cutlip told the Marshall Parthenon.
“Some residence halls may become gender-neutral, as well,” he said. “We try to be as helpful, understanding and discreet as possible to meet the needs of the students.”
Cutlip said the goal is to eventually have 12 gender neutral bathrooms on campus. And they’re not just for transgendered students, but also work well for visiting families or others who need privacy, he said.
“Any student should feel comfortable and have as much privacy as they need,” Cutlip said. “They’re also a great place for a family with small children.”