Stalls for All: Gender-Inclusive Bathrooms Coming to Fisher


Photo by Mallory Schake

For many on campus, walking into a bathroom is something people do without a second thought – it’s as simple as stepping down the hallway to find the nearest mens or ladies room. But, some individuals on Fisher’s campus don’t have that same luxury.

Of all of the public restrooms on campus, two of them are gender-inclusive. With so few restroom locations for those who may not feel comfortable using a designated men’s or women’s restroom, there is a push for gender-inclusive options.

Matthew Cieplicki, Student Government Association Senator and Sexuality and Gender Alliance President, has spearheaded this project. “This is about equity,” Cieplicki said. “This is about doing what’s right, and allowing people to be who they are and feel safe, and welcomed, and included in doing so.”

Cieplicki and SAGA proposed a resolution at an SGA meeting on April 4th, asking for SGA support in their movement for more inclusive restrooms. The proposed plan for implementing these restrooms would not require any reconstruction or renovation. Instead, the movement would require the change of signage in select bathrooms from gendered to gender-inclusive.

With the assistance of the Facilities Services Department and Dr. Marlowe Washington, a list of 11 low-traffic public bathrooms have been deemed candidates to switch from gendered to gender-inclusive. Cieplicki stated, “there’s still tons and tons of bathrooms on this campus, about a 10-, 15-, 20- second walk away from these locations and we have made sure of that; that was a big part of making this proposal.”

The proposed locations for the transition from gendered to gender-inclusive bathrooms include:

  • Men’s and Women’s restrooms in the Victor E. Salerno Center for American Enterprise (Basement)
  • Men’s and Women’s restrooms in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr School of Education (2nd floor)
  • Men’s and Women’s restrooms in the Wegmans School of Nursing (3rd floor)
  • Men’s and Women’s restrooms in Haffey Hall (1st floor) 
  • Men’s and Women’s restrooms in Kearny hall (4th floor)
  • Women’s restroom in the Facilities Building (Ground floor)
  • Single stall in the James S. Alesi Academic Center (2nd floor)

SAGA advisor Dr. Ricky Price explained the legal protections this project would uphold for transgender and nonbinary individuals. In 2021, the Department of Education set a law which requires any institution accepting Title IV funds to uphold federal protections for transgender individuals.

All new campus buildings (including the library) have already planned to include gender-inclusive restrooms. “This is not because the administration is altruistic or the architectural firm is woke,” Price said. “They’re doing this because this is the best practice for the ways that people live today and it’s in accordance with civil rights laws in New York State.”

In gaining support for this movement, Cieplicki drew on support from the SAGA Executive Board. Through their efforts, they gained the support of 128 students who signed a petition in support of more gender-inclusive bathrooms.

Cieplicki explained that backing from SGA will provide the support needed to present this project to the higher administration at Fisher. “Anytime that you’re bringing anything to the cabinet, the administration of the school, they want to see a lot of student support.” 

SGA voted in favor of the resolution, expressing their support in the gender-inclusive restroom movement. In order to support all members of our campus community, Cieplicki stated “gender-inclusive spaces on campus will demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity that will foster a campus environment where everyone feels safe and everyone feels like they belong.”

Following the senate vote, Cieplicki and SAGA are now preparing to present the movement to the university’s Cabinet with the guidance of Matha Thornton, the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Cieplicki hopes that the project will be approved and completed by the summer of 2024.