UA Officials plan to add Gender-Neutral Bathrooms to all Academic Buildings

By Alex Gladden

Razorback Reporter

In response to demands for gender-neutral bathrooms across the nation, UA officials are adding gender-neutral bathrooms to the Arkansas Student Union, the Donald W. Reynold’s Razorback Stadium and other department buildings.

Facilities Management officials are renovating the bathrooms on the second floor of the Arkansas Union to become gender-neutral, said Jay Huneycutt, the Facilities Management director of Planning and Design. They expect the bathrooms to be completed by the end of October.

The Athletics and University Housing departments also plan to follow Facilities Management’s lead and design their bathroom plans after the union design, he said.

Athletics officials will renovate their bathrooms using a holistic approach, meaning they will create gender-neutral bathrooms in the Razorback Stadium, Bud Walton Arena and other sporting centers, Huneycutt said.

The bathrooms will include at least one urinal and one stall. The main bathroom entrance will allow people to lock the door behind them, he said.

Department officials plan to add at least one gender-neutral bathroom to all academic buildings and are in the planning stages of creating gender-neutral bathrooms in the Graduate Education Building and the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Center, Huneycutt said.

These two buildings will be completed within the next few months, he said. Before construction begins on either the Graduate Education Building or the HPER, officials will have to create architecture drawings, give estimates for how much the projects will cost and wait for money to become available to create the bathrooms.

The bathrooms will be labeled with a sign that will read “Restroom,” Huneycutt said.

“Overall, we’ll just continue on down this path as we need to,” Huneycutt said.

The UofA has a policy that prohibits discrimination based on any characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law, including sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, according to the Non-Discrimination Policy on the UA website.

Gender-neutral bathrooms have previously been an area of contention city-wide.

Fayetteville residents passed the Uniform Civil Rights Protection Ordinance on Sept. 8, 2015, according to an article published in The Arkansas Traveler on Aug. 26, 2015.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the ordinance.

It was passed after Fayetteville residents repealed the original statute, Ordinance 119 on Dec. 9, 2014. One of the problems community members had with the original ordinance stemmed from its support of transgender people using the bathroom of their choice, according to an article published in The Arkansas Traveler on Dec. 10, 2014.

Another version of the article appeared in The Arkansas Traveler.