To: Dr. Larry Penley, President

FROM: Carmen Menoni, Chair, Commission on Women and Gender Equity

SUBJECT: Recommendation for “Family-Friendly or Companion-Care” Restrooms

DATE: May 2, 2008

The Commission remains committed to the establishment of “Family-Friendly or Companion-Care” restrooms.  In an effort to address the safety and comfort of opposite-gender caregivers that provide assistance to children, the elderly or disabled persons using campus restrooms, the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity (CWGE) recommends establishing “Family-Friendly or Companion-Care” restrooms in the following University buildings: Lory Student Center, University Center for the Arts, Moby Arena, and Hughes Stadium.  These facilities draw large numbers of University personnel and community members for special events.  Listed are some examples but are not limited to:

  • Frightening for caregivers to send young children alone into the restroom
  • Father taking his 6-year old daughter into the men’s restroom
  • Spouse with a disabled partner
  • Son with an elderly mother
  • Legislation for family restroom construction was passed in 2003 for those states that have adopted the 2003 International Building Code.  Such legislation requires unisex restrooms for all newly constructed or renovated – when restrooms are added – assembly and retail spaces like malls, theaters, airports and stadiums.  The building codes’ Section 1108.21 requires facilities with six or more male and female water closets to provide a unisex restroom.
  • In this case, we believe unisex refers to family restroom as well.  It can be argued that family friendly restrooms are needed in key buildings on college campuses (i.e., student center, sports facilities, performing arts centers) especially for students and families with young children.

Members of CWGE would be happy to assist in any way possible.

cc: Brian Chase