June 17, 2019 | 70° F

RUSA allocates $5 K. for all gender bathroom signs

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There are 130 single-stall, gender-neutral public restrooms on the New Brunswick campus, but their signs were "outdated and/or binary". Representatives from the Queer Caucus proposed that these signs read "all-gender bathroom" as opposed to "gender-neutral".

The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) voted in favor of a bill, 49 to 0, to allocate $5,000 for 130 all-gender bathroom signs across the Rutgers—New Brunswick campus.

At a meeting on March 14, members voted to pass the bill, which was intended to create uniformity across existing all-gender bathrooms. There are currently 130 single-stall, gender neutral public restrooms on the New Brunswick campus that have “outdated and/or binary” signage, according to the bill.

Sponsored by the Queer Caucus, Health and Wellness Committee, Student Affairs Committee and University Affairs Committee, the bill will cover 80 of the 130 signs, with University Facilities agreeing to cover the remainder. 

At the RUSA meeting, representatives from the Queer Caucus raised concerns over student safety due to the inconsistencies in signage, and proposed that the signs read “all-gender bathroom” rather than “gender-neutral bathroom” in an effort to improve clarity and include all gender identities.

Speaking to The Daily Targum, the Queer Caucus, whose individual members asked to remain anonymous, said: “This change allows for gender non-conforming, trans and non-binary students to have an easier and more comfortable time using single stall restrooms on campus.”

They also confirmed that this initiative is currently only in place for non-residence buildings across the campus.

“This initiative was not planned within residence halls because our initial bathroom count was focused on bathrooms in class and faculty buildings. Many residence halls also have multi-stall bathrooms, and because of bathroom variance laws in New Jersey it is harder to organize and update their plaques," they said.

There are currently no plans to create new all gender restrooms on campus. The caucus said the signs will only be replaced on existing all-gender bathrooms.

“I think the bill is incredibly important because it sets an example that when the student body believes strongly in a project, student government will do its best to address it … With the RUSA allocation the Queer Caucus can start ordering the signs as soon as possible, which is a really amazing improvement from the alternative," said Student Affairs Committee Chair Jhanvi Virani. “I hope projects like this can encourage student groups on campus to continue collaborating with RUSA in the future, because at the end of the day that's what makes the student voice stronger, and it's what makes the University better."

The meeting also had representatives discuss a potential future bill proposing a referendum on allowing student organizations to raise the student activities fee by up to 2 percent each year. The bill, which some members had hoped to vote on that night, was referred back to the committee due to opposition. 

Also referred back to the Public Relations Committee was a proposal for RUSA to sponsor an event for Standards TV, a student-run show that aims to allow women of color to discuss issues pertinent to their community. There was support for the event, but concerns about organization led to its postponement. 

The next meeting will be held on March 28 in the Student Activities Center on the College Avenue campus. 

Nicole Wootton-Cane

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