The rise of unisex bathrooms at COC

by Cougar News Contributor 962 views1

By Travyan Suttle

Did you know that a bathroom for both men and women exist on campus?

Thanks to the upper management at COC, students of all sexual identities can use the bathroom comfortably thanks to the implementation of unisex bathrooms.

Individuals who sexually identify as the opposite sex face many issues daily, even simple acts such as using public bathrooms can become a hassle.


A neutral gender bathroom is a unisex bathroom that can be used by both males and females, no matter their sexual identity.

The benefit of a unisex bathroom is that both male and female genders are able to go to the toilet without having to worry about harassment and discrimination toward an individual whose sexual identity does not match their sex.

This is especially important for transgendered individuals who may have the appearance of the opposite sex than that of who they truly are.

When asked for the number of transgendered students that currently attending COC, the school refused to respond.

COC has begun implementing unisex bathrooms at its Valencia Campus recently, with the creation of two unisex bathrooms.

The creation of these unisex bathrooms on campus ensures that the transgendered students who attend COC will have a safe comfortable experience when going to the bathroom.

The creation of these bathrooms has been subtle and has gone largely unnoticed, yet creation of these bathrooms show that COC is aware of the modern issues that may plague students.

Eric Harnish, the Vice President of COC, when asked why the schools Valencia Campus decided to install unisex bathrooms, he responded, “As part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the highest level of service to students, employees, and visitors, the college converted a number of existing single-stall bathrooms from gender-specific to gender neutral during the fall 2015 semester.”

The COC Valencia campus currently has two unisex bathrooms on campus, one is outside the Makerspace, the other on the first floor of Canyons Hall adjacent to the Admissions and Records Office.

“Any single-stall bathrooms included in future buildings to be built on campus will be gender-neutral. The college is in the midst of finalizing a new Educational and Facilities Master Plan, which will be released in Spring 2017. The plan outlines future building projects, and will identify expected locations of restrooms to be included in new buildings,”said Harnish.

The cost of creating additional bathrooms can sometimes be the deciding factor for some schools on if it wants to create unisex bathrooms, especially those that face budget issues and concerns.

The cost of not only creating a unisex bathroom, but also maintaining it through maintenance would seem to add additional cost to the schools budget, yet, “The conversion cost was limited to changing out the signage on each of the bathrooms,” said Harnish.

COC Valencia campus currently has two unisex bathrooms available for use to all students.

Creating unisex bathrooms has shown students that COC is aware of modern social issues that plague students, and will go to great lengths to make sure its students fell safe and comfortable in this environment.

When I stood outside of a unisex bathroom this week for 15 minutes, no students used the unisex bathroom at the COC Valencia campus; in fact, most students walked past the bathroom without noticing its existence.

It is a wonder if COC students actually know of the existence of the schools unisex bathrooms.

If students are not aware or informed that these bathrooms exist, the school will undoubtedly be wasting resources maintaining these bathrooms.

Perhaps the school should do a better job at informing students that these bathrooms exist on campus.

Either way, COC has done its done its due-diligence to ensure that all students, no matter their sexual identity, will be able to use the bathroom on campus conformably.

Comments (1)

  1. I am leaving clearer instructions for anyone in the future who comes across this article via Google. I want to save you the trouble so you don’t wander around the campus for ages like I did.

    Makerspace is located in the Student Center. Walk through the dining room and past the cafeteria. Makerspace is a room tucked away in the corner right next to the cafeteria. The bathrooms are in a hallway at the other end of the room. If the door to the hall is closed, just push it open and the gender-neutral bathrooms will be on your right. Don’t forget to lock the bathroom door with the flimsy little sliding bolt lock.

    The gender-neutral bathroom in Canyons Hall is IN the Admissions and Records room. As soon as you walk through the double doors, it will be tucked into the niche immediately on your left, across from a janitor closet. This bathroom is cleaner and more secure (my personal first choice), but sometimes it will be locked with no sign posted, or someone is hogging it for 15+ minutes. At least Makerspace is only a 3-minute walk away.

    Please be courteous in your treatment of these bathrooms, as there are virtually no other safe spaces available that are publicly shared online at the moment.

    It is my hope that COC will soon install more gender-neutral bathrooms in student-accessible areas for us to use.

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