A flyer criticizing the limited availability of restrooms for women, trans and nonbinary individuals was recently posted in David Rittenhouse Laboratories. The flyer, which was spotted on May 31, was taped to the door of a second-floor male restroom in the building.
“UPenn is moving too slowly at addressing the need for easily accessible bathrooms for women, trans, and nonbinary individuals in DRL,” the flyer, taped to the door of DRL 2C10, said.
“There is only one working STALL accessible to women on this floor (not just 1 restroom, but only 1 stall),” the flyer continued. “There are no gender-neutral bathrooms at all, but there are three separate men’s RESTROOMS — that’s ridiculous.”
The sign on the door marking that the restroom is for men was taped over with a note that said "whoever."
Currently, women's restrooms are the minority in DRL. Out of the fifteen functioning gender-specified bathrooms in DRL, only six of them are women's restrooms. There are two gender-neutral bathrooms in the 1N hallway, but Physics graduate student and Penn Diversity in Physics member Rachael Creager said that they are in a section of the building that is locked at night and during weekends.
According to Creager, the only working women’s restroom on the second floor of DRL was designed to have two stalls, but one of the stalls has been out of order since May 28th or 29th. The only other women’s restroom on the second floor has been undergoing repairs since the beginning of May.
Creager and Physics department chair Mark Trodden both said it's unclear when the repairs of the second floor women's restrooms will be completed.
“While we continue to advocate for appropriately numerous and inclusive restrooms in DRL, this is something that is out of the department’s hands, and is under control of the SAS Dean’s office,” Trodden said in an email.
Next to all the bathrooms, there is a sign with a Penn Arts and Sciences logo that says anyone is welcome to use the restrooms in DRL based on self-identification. The sign also lists all the gender neutral bathrooms close to DRL.
On the copy of this sign located next to the only functioning women's bathroom on the second floor, someone has written a note that says “Why are there 3 Men’s bathrooms and only 1 bathroom for women in this floor??”
“YES! This,” another note added, with an arrow pointing to the previous note.
Creager said that she doesn't know who is responsible for the repair of either of the second-floor women's restrooms. She added that the building manager is not a part of the School of Arts and Sciences, leaving it unclear as to who is responsible for the bathroom repairs.
Creager added that over the past two years, Penn DIP has been working to bring more gender-neutral bathrooms to DRL but has encountered roadblocks when trying to get approval from the city and the state.
Recently, Penn has been working to install more gender-neutral bathrooms around campus. However, few or no gender-neutral bathrooms have been installed since Fall 2017.
"The department of Physics and Astronomy strongly supports the need for sufficiently numerous and inclusive bathroom facilities in DRL," Trodden said in an email. "The Dean’s office has been supportive of this need, and some initial, albeit small, changes have been made."
As of June 2, the signs on the 2C10 men's bathroom door had been taken down and thrown away in the nearby recycling bin.
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