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Credit: Son Nguyen

Five days after a note criticizing a shortage in women's restrooms in the David Rittenhouse Laboratories was spotted on the door of a men's restroom, the School of Arts and Sciences administrators found a temporary solution.

In an email to all physics graduate students and undergraduate physics majors, SAS Director of Facilities Operations Christopher Augustine said that the 2E10 men's restroom will be re-labeled as a women's restroom.

"For the last few weeks a series of restroom outages on the 2nd floor of DRL have caused there to be only one functional women’s restroom on this floor of the building (as compared to three functional men’s restrooms)," Augustine said in the email. 

"While University Facilities is working to address the issues in the women’s restrooms, SAS Facilities, in partnership with the Department of Physics, is temporarily relabeling room 2E10 (normally a men’s restroom) as a women’s restroom to provide additional restroom facilities to the women on the floor," he added.

Several classrooms on the second floor of DRL currently serve as locations for math summer courses. However, undergraduate math majors did not receive Augustine's email.

Over the usual sign designating 2E10 as a men's restroom, there is a note posted that marks it as "Women's Room" in large font. In smaller text, the note contains a shorter version of Augustine's email.

"This temporary measure will be reversed once the two restrooms that are out of order (fully or partially) are brought back online," the note said. 

The note also includes the SAS Facilities and Planning and Operations Department address. 

Physics graduate student and Diversity in Physics member Sophie Ettinger said in an email that she is very appreciative of Vice Dean for Finance and Administration Matt Lane and his colleagues' swiftness in solving the bathroom issue. 

 "I am grateful they were willing to drop everything and work on this," she said.

Last Thursday, a flyer criticizing the limited availability of restrooms for women, transgender individuals, and nonbinary individuals was spotted on the 2C10 men's restroom.

“There is only one working STALL accessible to women on this floor (not just 1 restroom, but only 1 stall),” the note said. “There are no gender-neutral bathrooms at all, but there are three separate men’s RESTROOMS — that’s ridiculous.” 

Credit: Manlu Liu


Ettinger said in her email that she also has been frustrated with lack of women's restrooms on the second floor of DRL, where most first-year graduate students take classes. 

Physics graduate student and Diversity in Physics member Rachael Creager said that the other women's restroom on the same floor had been out of order since early May. 

"The problem is always that DRL is an old building including multiple different departments, and renovation is expensive, both in price, and in complications, as seen here," Ettinger added.

This was the School of Arts and Sciences' second attempt at re-labeling a second floor men's restroom as a women's restroom since Lane said he learned of the women's restroom shortage last Friday. 

Lane said in an email that he had directed his team to re-label the restrooms on Monday morning but the signs put up were torn down later in the day by DRL building occupants.

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