The University of California at Berkeley is coping with a new “Bathroom Brigade” that is encouraging men and women to use each other’s bathrooms, according to The Daily Californian.
Brigade members have been posting signs at the entrances to various campus bathrooms, covering up the Men and Women markers with declarations that the bathrooms are open to “All Genders.” The signs are appear intended to resemble an official announcement from the university, though a close reading reveals they are anything but. In full, they read:
“Please excuse our dust! The approval and planning process for a bathroom redesignation is surprisingly time-consuming, but in the interim the University’s priority is making sure everyone has safe access to a bathroom. As a temporary measure, we encourage everyone, of all genders, to use this bathroom. We’ll put up a permanent sign as soon as we can.”
At the bottom, the sign encourages readers to visit a Tumblr blog.
The signs are intended to criticize the UC administration for moving too slowly to build new gender-neutral bathrooms. The group wants at least one such bathroom available in every building; currently, only a few buildings have them.
Christine Shaff, a spokesperson for the school’s real estate division, told the Californian that impatient students aren’t appreciating how difficult it can be to add gender neutral bathrooms to a building.
“There’s all kinds of regulations that make changing the designation much more complicated than changing the sign on the door,” Shaff said. Besides trying to meet state and local building codes, Shaff noted that the school must try to accommodate students’ religious beliefs as well.
However, students say the school must move faster, because their very well-being is at stake.
“We don’t want to come across as not appreciating the work that’s been done,” doctoral student Amanda Armstrong told the Californian. “But it’s a safety issue in the interim that affects people’s daily lives.”
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