University of California to add gender neutral restrooms


SAN FRANCISCO — Responding to concerns raised by gay and transgender students and employees, University of California President Janet Napolitano directed the system’s 10 campuses on Monday to create more gender neutral restrooms and to allow students to update their records with a preferred name that does not necessarily match their legal name.

univ-cailfThe two actions respond to recommendations from a task force that started meeting before Napolitano assumed the president’s job a year ago Tuesday and which she has expanded into an ongoing advisory group to come up with suggestions for how the university can be more LGBT-inclusive.

“UC should be the gold standard where these issues are concerned.” Napolitano said in a statement.

Several UC campuses, as well as colleges and universities across the nation, already have moved in recent years to reconfigure their restrooms so transgender staff members and students can use them without fear of being identified or harassed. In many cases, schools also make maps available showing where the facilities are located.

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Under the directive announced Monday, all existing single-stall bathrooms in UC buildings will be made available to users of any gender instead of reserved for a single sex, system spokeswoman Brooke Converse said. Single-stall restrooms open to all genders will also be considered in plans for new and renovated buildings, Converse said.

The name policy also builds on changes at several UC schools, including Berkeley, Davis, Irvine and Santa Cruz, that already permit students who have not legally changed their names to choose a “preferred” name that will be used for class rosters, student ID cards, campus directories and other situations where a legal name is not required, such as a course transcript or financial aid form.

Napolitano on Monday also asked the advisory council to convene a meeting on the research on LGBT topics being done by UC faculty and students and to make recommendations for improving staff diversity training.

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