Gender-inclusive washrooms at Kwantlen

'Everyone deserves a comfortable, accessible public washroom facility,' says university's diversity & equality committee director.

  • Wed Oct 7th, 2015 2:00pm
  • Life

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) students arrived for the fall semester to find new gender-inclusive washrooms on all four campuses.

Nine men’s and women’s washrooms in high-traffic areas at the university’s Cloverdale, Surrey, Langley and Richmond campuses were identified for conversion to gender-inclusive, wheelchair-accessible facilities. The conversion involved replacing signage, modifying sink and counter heights, and adding grab bars, shelves and hooks.

Seven washrooms are single-stall private facilities, while two have multiple stalls.

“KPU has a long history of being a proudly open-access institution, and this is an extension of that philosophy, that commitment and that pledge,” said Dr. Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor of KPU.

The need for gender-inclusive washrooms was identified by the president’s diversity and equity committee, which was formed in 2012 with support from the student group Pride Kwantlen and the recommendations of an internal strategic planning initiative.

“Everyone deserves a comfortable, accessible public washroom facility,” said Dr. Diane Naugler, director of the president’s diversity and equity committee at KPU and associate dean in the Faculty of Arts. “I’m proud of our committee and how the university is creating a gender-inclusive environment.”

Naugler added that the changes are an important step toward more comprehensive support of trans-gendered and gender-non-conforming students and staff in the KPU community. The president’s diversity and equity committee will continue in its role to provide leadership in the advancement of inclusivity and diversity at KPU.