When Becca Crowley had a prospective University of Connecticut student shadow her for a day, they were surprised that she had to go to an adjoining building to use the restroom.
“It’s kind of annoying,” Crowley said, speaking on the lack of female bathrooms in the Engineering 2 Building.
Crowley is a seventh-semester mechanical engineering major and spends a lot of time in Engineering 2.
“I basically live in E2,” Crowley said.
When Crowley started studying and working on projects in Engineering 2, there was only one female bathroom in the building, on the second floor. If she was working on the third floor, where she spent most of her time in the computer lab, she said she would go to the adjoining building, the United Technologies Engineering Building (UTEB).
Crowley, as vice chair for outreach on the Undergraduate Student Government Student Services Committee, is working to make the number of bathrooms equal. She has already successfully helped open a staff-only female bathroom on the third floor to female students and is currently working to make the number of female bathrooms equal to the number of male bathrooms.
Kathy Fischer, associate director of the UConn Women’s Center, said she believes the building’s age is responsible for the unequal bathrooms.
“It would appear that back in the day… there didn’t seem to be a need for equitable bathroom space,” Fischer said.
Engineering 2 was built in 1959, before UTEB.
Crowley personally knows female students who have dropped out of the program their first year, and said it might be because it is a male-centered field.
“I feel like if we want women to stay in engineering, we need to be as open as possible and as welcoming [as possible],” Crowley said.
Fischer also said the low number of gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus should also be considered in current and future buildings.
“It makes sense to have equal bathrooms, but it also makes sense to have more gender-neutral bathrooms,” Fischer said.
Crowley says next semester she will continue to work to have equal gendered bathrooms in the building.
“[We want to] continue moving as more engineering buildings are being built and to ensure that there’s equality everywhere,” Crowley said.
Schae Beaudoin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.