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North Central College sets up ‘all gender’ restrooms to accommodate transgender students

North Central College's effort to establish a gender-neutral campus has extended to the creation of unisex restrooms, officials said.

"As we brought on a few new buildings, we wanted to make it very explicit," college spokeswoman Kimberly Sluis said. "The single occupancy signs feature a toilet in a restroom."

The new facilities came to the attention of students after the start of the fall semester on Sept. 12, prompting students and others to spread the word via social media.

All of the facilities that have been changed feature single stalls that are enclosed, can be occupied by just one person and have signs identifying them as an "all gender restroom." They are located in buildings across the campus.

The creation of special accommodations for transgender people or to allow transgenders to use the restroom that corresponds to the gender with which they identify has been an issue for many businesses, including colleges. Sluis said to her knowledge, the issue hasn't been a source of controversy at NCC.

Should a student have a particular need, Sluis said, the college is open to meeting with them and trying to accommodate them, regardless of whether it regards a transgender issue or needing accommodations for coursework or other problems.

"For most people, this change didn't affect them," she said. "It wasn't a kind of thing that caused us to send out notification."

Sluis said if students or other members of the campus community have concerns, there are a number of places where issues or comments can be directed.

"This is the kind of concern that really any of us in the deans of services (office) could talk about," she said. "We welcome those conversations to ensure we're meeting the needs of students."


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