Campus officials will discuss plans for more gender-neutral bathrooms on campus

One+of+Moorpark%27s+non-binary+restrooms+located+on+the+far+side+of+the+campus+center+behind+the+Student+Service+Annex+building.+Photo+credit%3A+Michelle+De+Leon
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Campus officials will discuss plans for more gender-neutral bathrooms on campus

One of Moorpark's non-binary restrooms located on the far side of the campus center behind the Student Service Annex building. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

One of Moorpark's non-binary restrooms located on the far side of the campus center behind the Student Service Annex building. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

One of Moorpark's non-binary restrooms located on the far side of the campus center behind the Student Service Annex building. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

One of Moorpark's non-binary restrooms located on the far side of the campus center behind the Student Service Annex building. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

By Alec Kamburov

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Members of the President’s Council will be meeting early this semester to discuss plans to increase the number of gender-neutral restrooms and promote the overall sense of equity across the campus.

Academic Senate members, including, Associated Students of Moorpark College president, Andrew Lopez and Moorpark College president, Luis Sanchez, will meet Tuesday, January 22, to discuss the accessibility of a gender-neutral bathroom on campus.

The Council typically meets later in the semester, but due to a polemical event that took place, Lopez requested the meeting be pushed forward. Last semester, campus police were called to a report that an individual was in the wrong bathroom.

This incident led to an anonymous poll on ASMC’s social media, that sparked strong feelings among some students on campus. It asked if people agreed with the idea of someone who is gender non-conforming using the restroom of their choice or not while on campus. When speaking on the subject, president Lopez explained they hadn’t meant any harm.

“I think that ended up being a mistake on our part,” said Lopez. “Our intentions were good, we needed to get an unbiased approach to this, [but] making that even a choice entertains the other side of the argument.

“I think an issue like that is on a similar parallel to a civil rights issue,” Lopez continued.

The council sessions are normally closed to the public, thus ASMC planned to advocate on behalf of Spectrum, the LGBTQ+ community on campus and demand for the implementation of additional neutral restrooms. Lopez said that it wasn’t his decision to keep the meeting closed, but believes it is effective to keep the discussion within the executive team of Moorpark College.

“[By] trying to implement those gender-neutral restrooms is the way I’m hoping to represent the LGBTQ+ community,” said Lopez. “I think for the most part everyone on the Presidents’ Council is on the same page as far as going through [to implement] those changes.”

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Andrew Lopez, ASMC president, answers interview questions for a reporter in the ASMC board room on Jan. 17, 2019. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

According to Kristen Robinson, ASMC advisor, it is likely that a “pilot program” will implement a gender-neutral bathroom on the second floor of the library before expanding to more buildings.

This would be adhering to the idea of maintaining equity, recognizing institutional and systematic barriers by creating access and opportunities for everyone.

The restrooms currently available on campus are located in the Music Building, the Student Service Annex, and the Child Development Center. Students who would like to use them are more likely have to travel to the out-most parameters of the campus.

Lopez plans on creating a more inclusive environment on campus through fair representation during the meeting.

During their interview members of the Spectrum Club voiced their frustrations that they hadn’t been informed of the pushed-up date for the council meeting or that Lopez would be advocating on their behalf.

“I think it becomes vital to make sure that you are representing them correctly and respectfully and I think the only way one can achieve that is through direct conversation with the demographic they want to advocate for,” said Spectrum board member Tania Nasrollahi. “So, in other words, I think it’s well-intentioned, but I don’t think it is correct.”

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Spectrum Club board member Tania Nasrollahi took her turn with the clubs version of a talking stick, a rainbow Beanie Baby, to express her thoughts on the closed meeting. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Spectrum feels “blindsided” according to Jude Goodman, Spectrum Club ICC Representative. The board as a whole views the meeting as positive, but feels that it speaks to the greater issue of the LGBTQ+ community being marginalized by society. The LGBTQ+ community wants self-advocacy and feels as if they’re being excluded from the discussion.

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Spectrum Club board members Conrad Blau (right) and Jude Goodman(left) sharing their perspective on the situation. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Following Spectrum’s interview, they arranged for a meeting with President Sanchez where an invitation was extended to them to attend the meeting, according to a written statement from Spectrum board member Tania Nasrollahi.

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