The two multi-stall restrooms on the second floor of the MultiCultural Center will be converted to all-gender restrooms, a motion the University Center Governance Board approved at the end of May.
Converting the restrooms, located by the Associated Students offices and the Graduate Student Association Lounge, only requires changing the signage on the door. Gary Lawrence, director of the University Center (UCen), said he hopes to have the signs installed by July 15.
The UCen Governance Board worked with Dwayne Mosbey, program coordinator for the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD), to learn more about the process of converting the bathrooms and the potential costs.
Mosbey was invited to speak at a UCen Governance Board meeting in May as a representative of the Trans Task Force, which has been advocating for more all-gender restrooms on campus.
“My purpose in going [to the meeting] was telling them what the steps have been with [the RCSGD] in the conversion of multi-stall restrooms, especially because there is no written policy within the UC code about how that is to be implemented, and we just recently finished the conversions for the Social Sciences and Media Studies building,” Mosbey said.
The Equal Restroom Access Act, approved by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016, requires all single-stall restrooms in a “business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency” in California to be marked as all-gender.
But the bill does not address multi-stall restroom conversions, Mosbey said.
Mosbey, along with RCSGD Director Craig Leets and UCSB Policy Coordinator Jennifer Lofthus, has been working on an outline for a UCSB multi-stall bathroom conversion process to facilitate more conversions in the future.
Mosbey also addressed the board’s concerns about renovations to add more stalls, which he said weren’t necessary to have the restrooms converted. The total cost of converting the restrooms is about $300 to $350, he said.
Costs associated with single-stall restroom conversions are typically covered by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services, but Mosbey said the office did not want to cover the costs for multi-stall restrooms.
While the board is still considering renovations to the restrooms, Mosbey cautioned against renovations, noting that they take much longer than signage changes and could create animosity toward people who identify as transgender or nonbinary.
Mosbey is sitting on a special advisory committee over the summer to discuss what renovations would be necessary, if any.
The RCSGD has been directing its efforts on bathroom conversion projects throughout this past year, with a focus on converting multi-stall restrooms.
Mosbey’s first step was to update the All-Gender Restroom Map, which details the locations of all-gender restrooms on campus. He is also working with the Department of Geography to signify all-gender restrooms on the new interactive campus map the department is working on.
The center’s next priorities are identifying all the single-stall restrooms on campus that still need to be converted and working with different departments on campus to convert multi-stall restrooms in their buildings.
Mosbey said that department heads and vice chancellor hold the power to approve these bathroom conversions. The multi-stall bathroom conversion in the Social Sciences and Media Studies building was the first multi-stall conversion the center helped facilitate.
“Our goal is to get an all-gender restroom in every building on campus. But a realistic timeline of that, it could take up to years, depending on how many kinds of barriers we run into, whether departments actually end up agreeing to doing it,” he said.
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