McGill finally gets unisex washrooms
By Eric Johanssen
It seems everyone wants to be more like Western these days.
McGill University is one step closer to being in our league
this week: they're finally getting their first co-ed wheelchair
accessible washroom, but no hanky panky, guys. The Student
Society of McGill University is building the campus' first
gender-neutral single unit washroom in a series of renovations
to be done in the Shatner building, which houses the student
Rod DeCastro, vice-president operations of the SSMU, said
the washroom is being built to make the building more accessible
to all students.
Decastro said some students may require assistance going to
the washroom and may not feel comfortable going into a washroom
with multiple stalls. "Others may not identify themselves as
male or female, so this provides a comfortable, accessible
alternative for everyone," he said, adding all students are
financing the renovations so there should be facilities to
accommodate all students.
Alicia Vandeweghe, a fourth-year honours history student,
said she does not see the washrooms as a big deal. "If the
washroom is only for one person, it doesn't matter if it's
gender neutral because no one else is in there," Vandeweghe
said. "As long as they stick a tampon machine in there, [it's
Adrienne Kennedy, VP-campus issues for the University Students'
Council, said such washrooms already exist on campus at Western. "There's
one by the McKellar Room [in the University Community Centre];
you need a combination to get in and only one person can go
in at a time," she said. The combination for the washroom is
available from Services for Students with Disabilities in the
Student Development Centre or The Wave, Kennedy noted.
Wendy Dickinson, a counsellor with the SDC, said there are
a number of these washrooms across campus. "There's one in
the UCC, the Physics and Astronomy Building, the Social Science
Centre and the D.B. Weldon Library," Dickinson said.
The washroom in the UCC is the only one requiring a combination
because it contains an expensive lift used to transport people
who require assistance, Dickinson said, adding all washrooms
are available to all students who wish to use them, not just
students with disabilities.