Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Sunday, April 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

S.RES 12 calls for housing accommodations for trans and gender non-conforming students

S.RES 12, a resolution to provide support and begin providing accomodations for transgender and gender non-conforming students, passed unanimously with everyone in attendance voting in favor Feb. 12. Richard Li / Thresher

By Viola Hsia     2/20/24 10:25pm

The Student Association passed a resolution to provide support and begin the process of providing accommodations for transgender and gender non-conforming students Feb. 12. The resolution, which was introduced Jan. 24, passed with everyone in attendance voting in favor.

The resolution proposes creating a map of gender-neutral bathrooms around campus and within residential colleges. The resolution also focuses on providing resources during Orientation Week and revising the new student form to outline these new accommodations and emphasize the form’s confidentiality. 

Katherine Painter, a Brown College new student representative who introduced the resolution, said she was pleased with how it proceeded. 

“When we introduced the resolution, there were a lot of people who spoke in opposition, not necessarily to the issue, but just to how we were trying to attack it,” Painter, a freshman, said. “At this Senate, I felt really good because no one voted against it. It’s like a reaffirmation that what we’re doing is good. Not that I ever questioned that; [the resolution passing is] just some more support.”

According to Painter, further steps include more meetings with Housing and Dining on how to implement these changes.

Morike Ayodeji, the director of the SA’s diversity, equity and inclusion commission, who was also part of the group of students introducing the resolution, said that she hopes this resolution will make this issue a priority for the administration.

“It’s just a matter of admin and other groups on campus putting [these accommodations] as one of their priorities and just getting it done,” Ayodeji, a senior at McMurtry College said. “There’s a lot of small things that will go a long way. Ultimately, why not make people feel more included and comfortable on campus? That’s the whole goal of our committee.”

Cole Holladay, one of the co-presidents of Rice PRIDE, who was consulted during the drawing up of this resolution, said they have had concerns with H&D’s general response to the issue in the past.

“One issue I have had with H&D’s response has been that they have previously been unwilling to make changes to existing infrastructure,” Holladay, a junior from Martel College, wrote in an email to the Thresher. “Instead, a representative from H&D has stated that they would just shuffle [gender non-conforming] and [transgender] students into colleges that have existing, inclusive infrastructure.” 

David McDonald, the H&D interim associate vice president, said H&D had been working with key stakeholders at Rice to provide gender-inclusive bathrooms as residential colleges are renovated.

“As colleges are built and reconstructed, we are paying special attention to adding all-gender inclusive restrooms, including in Duncan  [College], McMurtry, New Sid [Richardson College], and the three new wings for Baker, Hanszen and Will Rice [Colleges],” McDonald wrote in an email to the Thresher. “We have also designated three bathrooms in Baker to be gender inclusive. Jones North and South also have first floor suites that have gender inclusive bathrooms. We are also adding a gender inclusive restroom to Brown College the summer of 2024.” 

McDonald said that if students feel uncomfortable with their college accommodations, they should consult their college coordinator of the SAFE office.

Jae Kim, Brown president, who was part of turning the bathrooms in the Brown basement into gender-neutral bathrooms, said he hopes students know that gender-inclusive accommodations can be made throughout campus.

“I feel like every college, if they really dedicated themselves to it, especially the DEI representatives within the college … [should] make it so that every college will be able to equally, fully support students that might not be comfortable with gendered housing,” Kim, a junior, said.

Holladay, along with Rice PRIDE co-president Jorge Arnez Gonzales, said that this resolution was a positive step forward.

“We think that this is definitely a step in the right direction to make campus infrastructure more accessible to gender nonconforming and transgender students,” Arnez Gonzales, a junior from McMurtry, wrote in an email to the Thresher. “We are working closely with the SA’s DEI committee to see this resolution actually be implemented by H&D, so the work has just begun.”

Duncan NSR Amogh Varanasi, one of the authors of the resolution, said that he hopes the passing of this resolution will open up larger conversations for the SA regarding other causes in Rice’s community.

“I think having this [resolution] is a very good springboard to have some big conversations, not only with student organizations like Rice PRIDE and Student Association and Senate, but also with the bigger players that can make a bigger tangible impact on Rice through legislation and policy,” Varanasi said.

More from The Rice Thresher

NEWS 4/17/24 5:23pm
Jones wins men’s and women’s Beer Bike races, GSA snags alumni

Jones College won both the women’s and men’s Beer Bike 2024 races, while the Graduate Student Association claimed the alumni team win. Hanszen College bike teams were the runner-up in the alumni and men’s races, while Brown College was the runner-up in the women’s race. Martel and McMurtry Colleges did not bike in the alumni race, according to the Rice Program Council’s final report, and the GSA was disqualified from the men’s race for accidentally sending out two bikers simultaneously.


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.