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UPDATED: WVU opens gender neutral bathrooms, ignores handicap accessibility

West Virginia University (WVU) celebrated the grand opening of two state-of-the-art gender neutral bathrooms Thursday, in an effort to preserve its commitment to diversity and “remain a national leader in progression and inclusion.” However, the school has failed to remain inclusive for for its students who are handicapped.

Some students at WVU, however, think the new gender neutral bathrooms are a snub to handicapped students whose demands for handicap-accessible bathrooms have been placed on the diversity backburner. Amanda Hutchison, one of two students in a manual wheelchair on campus, told Campus Reformshe has been advocating for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rights since she started at WVU, but the administration has mostly ignored her requests.

“The university’s response is very slow compared to the gender neutral bathroom advocates, she said. “They rallied and got enough people to where the university did not really have a choice.”

Hutchison did note that the university established an ADA committee in 2013 after she initially brought her concerns to the attention of administration. Since then, the university hired an ADA director as well but his position was placed under the supervision of the school’s diversity office, which focuses most of its energy on issues of race and gender.

The university has a scarce number of handicap “accessible” bathrooms and the ones it does have, according to Hutchison, do not meet ADA standards. The few accessible bathrooms were “not correctly built to where you can get a wheelchair to turn in them,” Hutchison said. “Basically they thought throwing a grab bar on the wall meant it was accessible.”

“Someone with gender identification needs can at least get into a bathroom.”

Curated by (Lifekludger)
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