Students angered over removal of gender neutral bathroom in Baker Hall

The bathroom has been replaced as a women’s only restroom

UMass has always prided itself on inclusivity among its student and faculty body and strives to diminish negativity on campus. That being said, a recent change implemented in one residential hall has several students upset.

Residents of Baker Hall in the Central living area arrived at school this fall to find that a gender neutral bathroom has recently been taken away. The former sign, which was installed last year, has switched to that of a women’s room, signaling an end to the gender neutral status of this multi-stall facility. The bathroom was the first of it’s kind on campus, and much dissent has thus arisen regarding its transformation.

Baker residents received news of this change via email on Monday, August 28th. The email described why the change was made, stating the following:

“We are writing to inform you that, in order to come into compliance with the Massachusetts Uniform Plumbing Code (248 CMR 10.00 ), the 112A Baker multi-stall bathroom has been designated as a Women’s bathroom.   The previous “all gender” sign was installed without consultation with the Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters.  Right now, the Massachusetts Uniform Plumbing Code requires that all multi-stall restrooms and bathrooms be designated as either male or female.”

Despite this repeal, students in Baker took matters into their own hands, creating a handmade sign in place of the new one (As pictured below). There has also been an email campaign to protest the decision.

The University does however make it clear that single-stall gender neutral bathrooms located on the first floor of Baker will remain available for those who wish to use them. The email describes that UMass will continue their efforts for inclusivity, and are making strides to ensure that gender-neutral bathrooms become more present and available throughout campus. 

UMass Amherst