October 23 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 30  

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McGill finally gets unisex washrooms

By Eric Johanssen
Gazette Staff

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 union.

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 cool]."

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.




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