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DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment now has a unisex restroom.
The multi-stalled private bathroom, which is open to people of all genders and identities, is located in room A145T on the first floor of the Levine Science Research Center, the former women’s restroom near Hug Commons.
“We want every visitor, student, faculty and staff member – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – to feel comfortable in our school,” said Stanback Dean Jeffrey Vincent. “We are committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and equity at the Nicholas School because we know it makes us a better and stronger community.”
Although the restroom offers transgender and gender nonconforming people a safe space at the school, they are encouraged to use any of the school’s facilities they feel most comfortable using.Plans have been in the works to open a gender-neutral bathroom at the school since the passing of the now-repealed North Carolina House Bill 2, which was enacted in March 2016.
That May, 225 members of the Nicholas School community – including faculty, staff and students – sent a signed statement to the N.C. General Assembly voicing their opposition for the law and calling for its repeal.
“We value every member of our community and are committed to creating an educational environment at the Nicholas School that affirms all students, staff, and faculty and that affirms the lived experiences and human rights of LGBTQ persons,” the statement read. “We believe that everyone should live, work, and go to school in a state that does not tolerate discrimination.”
Last year, Duke began to shift some single-stall restrooms across the university into gender-neutral facilities. Duke is among several peer institutions that have implemented similar initiatives, including Princeton University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania and more.