University student working for inclusivity on campus

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- A social work student at the University of Southern Indiana is bringing attention to a topic some might not think about: restrooms on the campus. She started a petition with the goal of showing university officials the importance of single-use bathrooms.

After two and a half years on campus at the University of Southern Indiana, Sydney Mitchell is asking for a change.

“A bathroom is a very vulnerable place for everybody and so I think it’s just important that everybody feels safe and included,” Sydney Mitchell says.

Mitchell says when she got to campus she noticed there’s a lack of restrooms on campus that are private, single-use or family restrooms. So she wanted to make a difference by asking for the university to build new all-gender bathrooms on campus. She says after getting support from other university staff, she took her idea to the university president.

“I met with Dr. Rochon and we talked about it and he said that he thought it was a great idea but we just needed a student backing so that the college could see that there’s a need for it,” Mitchell explains.

So to get student support she started an online petition. Explained her idea and has gotten a response.

“Maybe we need it. In my case, I’m just 19 years old but I have seen children uncomfortable because they have to use a bathroom and they’re not used to it,” Diego Socorro says.

Mitchell explains there are more than 80 restrooms on the campus. Only five offer the privacy a single-use bathroom does. All of which are in the arena

“Along with this there are only baby changing tables in the female restrooms so if a male were to bring their child to campus and they needed to change their diapers or anything then there’s not really any place that they could go,” Mitchell says.

Mitchell says she is fighting for everyone. Parents, those with worries about using gendered facilities, or anyone who wants a bit more privacy to do their business.

The university says they support the cause and are working on a solution.

The petition started by Mitchell can be found here.

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(This story was originally published on February 1, 2020)

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