By: KATELYN FIRESTEIN
A new all-gender bathroom is in the works in Wiekamp Hall, as well as many innovative initiatives that the Deputy Title IX Coordinator Laura Harlow is working on. The exact date on when the bathroom renovation will be completed is still unknown, but it has been approved and the space has been chosen.
“Entering the lounge space north of DW1001 into the area carved out of DW1204” is the area that will be renovated, according to Harlow.
There are already three all-gender bathrooms on campus, residing in the Administration Building, Education and Arts Building and Northside Hall. However, the IU South Bend community members have been pushing for all-gender bathrooms campus-wide for quite some time.
“We have been talking about all-gender bathrooms in every building for years. The previous deputy Title IX director was pushing it along, but anything that involves IU architects, who are only in Bloomington, takes a very long time. I appreciate her work and am very happy that Laura continues to be supportive, as does the administration,” said April Lidinsky, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies department at IU South Bend.
“IU South Bend has really strong faculty voices who support our students who are within transition or even are visitors or community members who want to come here,” said Harlow. “Now is the time with a lot of this traction going where I can help elevate that.”
There has also been discussion surrounding updating the website’s interactive maps to highlight the areas where the all-gender bathrooms are, as well as the wellness rooms on campus. These additions would make the bathrooms and wellness rooms easier to access not only for IU South Bend’s current faculty, staff and students, but new students and visitors as well.
One concern that Harlow has is that the interactive map is currently housed centrally through the IU-wide site, so it may be more difficult to edit. However, she insisted that she is willing to do what she can to make the updated interactive maps possible.
“I don’t even think I’m dreaming that big, I think this is totally doable,” asserted Harlow.
Harlow said that she is working on the design plans for the maps now and once she figures it out, she will follow through on getting them on IU South Bend’s website immediately.