Posted February 2, 2017 by Cooper Point Journal in Letters & Opinion
 
 

Tell the Administration Seminar II Bathrooms Should be All-Gender



I have worked on changing the gendered bathrooms in Seminar II to all-gender for a year now, completing every step that the administration has thrown at me. I have been successful in this process before, changing the bathrooms on the first floor of the CAB to all-gender. As we broke for summer break everything was set to move forward for the Seminar II bathrooms. I was looking forward to returning to school in the fall to work on funding for the installation of urinal stalls, in addition to bathroom changes; hopefully completing this project by winter break.

This, of course, has not occurred. After approval from the Space Committee (a group made up of administrators from different parts of the college) they sent their recommendation for gender neutral bathrooms to the Vice President of Finance and Administration, John Hurley, for his final approval. After a majority of students had left for summer, John Hurley sent a memorandum declaring that the space committee’s recommendation “warrants further study” and that “building occupants need to be consulted to determine if they have objections, I would also like for the committee to consult with Conference Services as many conferences are booked in Seminar 2”.

The Space Committee approved the recommendation at the May 2, 2016 meeting, with the recommendation being sent to John Hurley on June 15, 2016. On June 22, 2016 he sent his memorandum expressing disapproval. I did not receive any notice of his statement until August 31, 2016. The recommendation and John Hurley’s response were sent after the beginning of summer break when students to go out of my way to find out the status of the proposed bathroom change.

Changing the bathroom in Seminar II is an obvious choice. With a gender neutral single occupancy bathroom right next to the all-gendered bathroom would make it so that all people during those short busy class breaks are able to use the bathrooms safely and efficiently. Currently, there is one gendered bathroom next to a single occupancy bathroom with a different gender on each floor. This requires many students to either go to another floor or wait on the single occupancy bathroom.

Hurley’s memorandum was sent back to the Space Committee where it has sat for a full quarter with very little progress. I decided it would be best to meet with John Hurley individually to understand what he would like to see in order to make this project move forward. I brought with me emails from the groups located in Seminar II that I have consulted with, as well as the email that stated that Conference Services is not apart of Seminar two and that conferences adjust to the bathrooms.

Yet, before even being able to produce those documents John Hurley denied that it was his problem, deflecting responsibility away from him, and pushing it back on the Space Committee and Jeanne Rynne, (Director of Facilities). I brought up that as Vice President of Administration and Finance he is responsible for any and all projects that Facilities puts forward and that he is also responsible for his statement asserting the project needs to be further looked into. Again he blamed people lower in the chain of command. I repeated that as a student here at the college I have worked on this project for a year and have done all the necessary steps that the administration has put forward to change the gendered bathrooms. I told him that students are going to be involved at which he raised his voice said, “is that a threat?” I calmly said no and, raising his voice even louder he said, “I will not be bullied, Alexander.”

Never in my time at The Evergreen State College have I had a faculty member or a staff member raise their voice at me, nor have complete disregard for a student project. After he raised his voice, the meeting was officially finished. Before leaving I calmly asked him what the students should do to which he again denied any responsibility and said that students should go to the Space Committee meeting. Students have already voiced their opinion however, with 500 signing a petition in days in favor of more all-gendered bathrooms. I do not want John Hurley to be bullied, but I do want him to hear the voice of the students and take responsibility for actions in his department. I also want to make sure that his “further study” continues so please email him your opinions at hurleyj@evergreen.edu give him a call at 360.867.6500 or visit him in the President’s Office at Lib 3215.

We are one of the most liberal colleges in the United States; together we can help John Hurley and the administration understand the need for these bathrooms to be changed.

Thank you,

Alexander Butler


Alexander Butler is a third year student at The Evergreen State College and currently serves as Chair of the Clean Energy Committee and representative on the Geoduck Student Union. He can be reached at butlera@evergreen.edu