ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Johnson Center’s multi-million dollar renovation at the University of New Mexico is one students have been wanting for years; now some students are asking UNM to add one more thing to the list.
“Universal changing and restrooms,” ASUNM Senator Hallie Brown said.
Brown, along with others students are pushing UNM to include gender neutral changing and restrooms in the renovation plans forJohnson Center. This would be in addition to gender specific locker rooms and restrooms.
According to the university, there are gender neutral restrooms in some of the newer buildings on campus, but not at Johnson Center where students say they need them the most.
“There are super high occurrences of transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming students who just come to school and avoid coming to the restroom all day because they’re afraid that they’ll be harassed,” Brown said.
Brown introduced a resolution that she said passed unanimously among senators. The resolution claims “gendered restroom spaces are daunting and potentially dangerous for various groups of people.”
“We focused on the idea that this is just a way to promote safety for the students and making sure they have a place to use the restroom and change because no one should feel unsafe doing that,” Brown said.
Chris Vallejos with the university’s Institutional Support Services said UNM is aware of what students want. He said the planning committee is already talking about adding gender neutral restrooms to the plan. But he didn’t say if a gender neutral locker room will also be included.
Brown and other students say it’s a good start.
“I think this is the best way to show our transgender, gender nonconforming and queer students on campus that we’re working for them,” she said.
The university hopes to start renovations on Johnson Center in in the beginning of 2018. It hopes to have the work done sometime the following year.