University of Victoria Student Society considers gender-neutral washrooms

The University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS) is considering the implementation of multi-stall gender neutral washrooms in the students’ university centre.

The school’s board of governors unanimously passed a motion Jan. 24 to investigate the cost and logistics of converting the main floor washrooms.

Tara Paterson, a fourth-year student at UVic and advocacy council member on the UVSS executive, put the motion forward.

In a statement issued to Canadian University Press, Paterson said she encouraged the accessibility of a gender neutral washroom.

The university centre at UVic currently has eight multi-use washrooms on the main floor with only one gender neutral washroom.

However, Paterson said it is located very close to the public washroom, which she said could make some people feel uncomfortable.

There is currently no estimate for how much the implementation will cost but Paterson said she does not think cost will present a huge problem.

Paterson suggested signage could be changed, but the multi-use washrooms would be similar to single-stall washrooms.

UVSS director of finance Kelsey Hannan did express some concern over the passing of the motion.

Hannan said while she is not against multi-person gender neutral washrooms, she is concerned for how it would be implemented financially and practically.

UVSS Chairperson James Coccola will be working with TransAction, a Victoria-based transgender advocacy group, to explore how to implement these washrooms, including talking to staff and students in the university centre to see how it will affect the operations of the student building, he told the Martlet, the university’s student newspaper.

He said the report will look into costs and the potential layout of the washrooms.

Campus group UVic Pride is also on board with the project and working to create an awareness campaign to address the issues involved with securing gender-neutral washrooms.

The campaign will also focus on providing students with the proper information to address any concerns they may have, Canadian University Press reported.