VCU to open gender neutral restrooms across campus, LGBTQ-specific housing in the future
The Commonwealth Times, VCU’s student newspaper, is reporting the school has designated several Monroe Park Campus restrooms as gender neutral, and the school also plans to introduce LGBTQ-specific housing in the coming years.
“The point here is to move beyond the binary of either you’re this or you’re that,” Paris Prince, VCU’s Special Assistant for LGBTQ Initiatives, told the CT. “VCU has leapfrogged forward in this discussion. Many institutions or organizations have not gotten to this point yet. VCU with this statement wanted to say, ‘This restroom is for everyone.’”
The restrooms, located in the Academic Learning Commons, University Student Commons and the James Branch Cabell Library, will be also be ADA compliant and updated with new signage, pictured above via the CT. Additional restrooms around campus are expected to open in the coming weeks.
Charles Klink, VCU interim vice provost for student affairs, also confirmed to the CT that the university is anticipating lavender (LGBTQ-friendly) housing next academic year.
“By creating safe spaces to live on campus, LGBTQ students are more likely to thrive academically,” Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director/Founder Campus Pride, told GayRVA last fall about the possibility of Lavender housing at VCU. “They would be surrounded by students with similar beliefs, agendas, and so on. Having Lavender Housing will encourage the student to achieve the best they can do by knowing that their campus administration recognizes and supports them.”
“The students can gain knowledge about LGBT culture and about the numerous ways LGBT people have contributed to society,” said Windmeyer. ”The students could then interact with the larger VCU community in a more conscious manner.”
But with this new project, concerns of VCU’s sexual minority community becoming isolated are also being discussed. Dale Smith, English Instructor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising, also spoke with GayRVA last year where he acknowledged the critics who say college is a time to prepare young people for the “real world,” but he doesn’t quite agree with the assessment.
“I would remind [critics] that college as a whole, does not reflect the real world,” said smith. “Rather, college prepares students to interact meaningfully and consciously with others when they graduate and do enter the real world.”
“Students can grow in ways that will bring about more meaningful interaction with each other and with the world at large,” he said.
This month, VCU’S College of Humanities and Sciences is hosting a speakers series titled, “Celebrating Forty Years of LGBTQ Activism” to commemorate the court decision that allowed for VCU’s first queer student organization to exist on campus. This Thursday, Dr. Marc Stein of San Francisco State University, will give the second lecture in the series [...]October 11, 2016
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