Memorandum February 15, 2023
- American University Community
- Bronté Burleigh-Jones, CFO, Vice President and Treasurer
- All-Gender Restrooms Working Group Update
Dear AU Community,
As members of the All-Gender Restrooms Working Group, we would like to update the AU community on our ongoing work. This follows on the heels of two prior updates:
- In August 2022, the first update announced that existing multi-stall, all-gender restrooms would be redesignated as men’s and women’s restrooms.
- The facilities management team formed a working group to help with implementation and to provide support to the community during the transition. Following extensive community feedback from students, staff, faculty, and alumni, the working group was tasked with revisiting the decision.
- In December 2022, the second update announced that we would research best practices for multi-stall, gender-inclusive facilities and potential adjustments to the action plan underway.
- In the course of our work together, the group learned that DC code modification does allow for multi-stall, all-gender restrooms (in alignment with the International Plumbing Code). The modification, however, requires feasibility studies, applications, and approvals.
- We also formed a signage subcommittee to address inconsistent signage of both single-stall restrooms and multi-stall restrooms across campus.
Below are updates about the bathroom renovations, signage changes, and future work.
Given the new information about anticipated plumbing code updates, the university is updating our approach to officially explore the implementation of multi-stall, all-gender restrooms on campus. We will be initiating feasibility studies (architects’ analysis of space and building requirements) for all-gender restrooms in the following buildings:
Feasibility studies and implementation also will be included in the upcoming renovation projects for the following buildings:
- Mary Graydon Center
Moving forward, the university is committed to providing inclusive, multi-stall restrooms in its new building and renovation projects.
In a subcommittee on signage, group members worked on updating signage for single-stall and multi-stall restrooms.
The group completed the following tasks:
- Developed consistent signage for all single-stall restrooms on campus, which according to DC code must be all-gender.
- Updated signage with inclusive image and terminology, as well as Braille.
- Wrote a values statement to accompany the sign, indicating the AU community’s commitment to gender inclusiveness and accessibility.
We are developing an implementation plan for all 125 single-stall restrooms on campus. This is an effort that began at least five years ago, so we are thrilled to be approaching completion.
The group will continue to:
- Develop inclusive, multi-stall, all-gender restrooms signage and possible accompanying values statements.
- Research best practices for men’s and women’s restrooms signage.
Community Framework and Education
Going forward, the working group’s tasks will span out to larger questions of framing, accountability, and community education. These tasks include:
- Building a theoretical framework and practical protocol for ongoing assessment of public accommodations on campus.
- Integrating accountability measures with appropriate campus partners and communities.
- Determining an approach to educating the AU community on bathroom equity.
- Designating a team responsible for maintaining a website with updates on this and other equity-related campus renovations and issues.
We are committed to meeting the multiple needs of our community and the various constituents who use our campus buildings. We continue to appreciate community involvement and feedback on our work. If you would like to support this work, please share this information with others and look out for future opportunities to be involved.
We anticipate providing our next community update on the status of our initial feasibility studies in late spring.
Working Group Members:
- Robin Adams, Director, Center for Diversity and Inclusion
- Qwendolyn Brown, Associate General Counsel
- Bronté Burleigh-Jones, CFO, Vice President & Treasurer (Co-Facilitator)
- Cameron Eller, Student, AU PRIDE Vice President
- Khouri Lassiter, Assistant Director, Education & Support Programs for LGBTQIA+
- Nabina Liebow, Director, CAS LEAD Program; LGBTQ+ Faculty/Staff Affinity Group Co-Lead
- Jonathan McCann, Assistant Vice President, Planning and Project Management
- Marc Medwin, Assistant Professor, Department of Performing Arts; Disability+ Faculty & Staff Affinity Group (D+ FSA) Co-Lead
- Lindsay Northup-Moore, Senior Director, Disability Support
- Edna Pate-Cloutier, Director, Planning and Project Development
- Andie Rowe, Director, Employee Wellness & Work-Life
- Cheyenne Smith, Student, AU PRIDE President
- Amanda Taylor, Assistant Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Shannon Telenko, DEI Consultant, Talent Strategies
- Perry Zurn, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Philosophy (Co-Facilitator)
Bronté Burleigh-JonesChief Financial Officer, Vice President, and Treasurer