McCabe Has a Gender-Neutral Bathroom?

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The signThis sign? Now out of date.

The answer, in short: As of August, yes!

The second floor men’s bathroom was converted into a single-occupancy space in order to fit two different needs; the College was already in the process of creating restrooms that would meet standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act when the College expanded their non-discrimination statement to include gender identity and expression (The Gazette reported the change here).

As part of that process, says Equal Opportunity Officer Sharmaine LaMar, the Equal Opportunity Advisory Commission recommended “that the College provide at least one gender neutral, single-occupancy restroom in each major building on campus.” As a result, “the committee collaborated with Facilities staff to find the right bathroom in McCabe that would meet both goals.”

Director of Facilities Stu Hain explained that in order to accomodate disabilities, “we reduced the number of toilet fixtures to allow a wheel chair to maneuver, eliminated a door for the same reason and made the room lockable for privacy.”

He continued, “Because that created a space that was suitable for one person at a time to use, including the lock on the entrance door, it made sense to us that it could be used as a ‘safe’ bathroom as well. We just changed the sign to indicate it may be used by either sex, and we will do the same wherever possible.”

Are there other changes you like (or don’t) around campus? We’ll find out the answers for you–just let us know at dailygazette [at] swarthmore [dot] edu.


  1. According to Sharmaine LaMar, the men’s room on the second floor “came closest to already being a single-occupancy restroom” out of all the restrooms in McCabe.

    My hypothesis is that even if that weren’t the case, the fact that women spend longer in the bathroom would seem to suggest that it’s usually a better idea to convert men’s to gender-neutral rather than women’s.

  2. What’s more puzzleing is why they decided to designate the handicap bathroom on the second floor. If I were handicapped, I would probably study on the first floor so I wouldn’t have to, you know, walk up a flight of stairs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Phoenix

Discover more from The Phoenix

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading