Gender markers removed from bathroom doors, all restrooms now transgendered.
A New York City college has responded to transgender students who vandalized bathrooms by rewarding them with campus-wide “degendered” facilities.
Bill Mea, acting president of Cooper Union, sent an email March 18 informing the campus community of the new restrooms, which will only be identified as “Restroom with Urinals and Stalls,” “Restroom with Only Stalls,” and “Restroom Single Occupancy.”
“We have always been ahead of our time and we must continue being leaders on issues of social justice,” Mea said. “We, who are in positions of power, have the obligation to not only stand with those without power, but to stand in front of them, clearing a path for them to walk. I cannot change the outside world and how it treats transgender and gender non-conforming people, but I can change the Cooper Union environment to help everyone feel safe when they are inside our buildings.”
The school president then appeared to make a veiled threat of disciplinary action for individuals who publicly protest his decision.
“I also ask that none of us practice gender policing, where we attempt to restrict someone from using the same restroom we are using or make them feel uncomfortable for doing so,” Mea said. “If you feel uncomfortable sharing a restroom, then the single-occupancy restrooms will now be available to you.”
The website Inside Higher Ed reported Thursday that Cooper Union may be the first college to completely eliminate gender distinctions in bathrooms. The process began two years ago when students removed bathroom signs and replaced them with banners reading “Bathroom” or “Degendered.”
Mea, who left the signs down in order to observe how students reacted, told the website that resistance was relegated to a “handful of alumni.”
“I think you’ll begin seeing this more and more,” Mea said. “We here in New York City, we have the support of our mayor and the support of our city. That allows us that opportunity to be more expansive, but obviously there may be less of an opportunity where other colleges are located.”
Doulos Christou, a reader at the education watchdog The College Fix, said Mea’s decision has much more to do with control than supporting “those without power.”