Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Monday, April 1st, RAPP will be sponsoring Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) for a screening of the new documentary "Danny from North Korea." The film shares Danny's story, escaping oppression and poverty faced in his home country, and navigating the challenges of resettlement. Mark your calendars for this special event.

Harambee Room, AACRC

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Work for Student Power & Educational Justice with the Ohio Student Association

From the Ohio Student Association:

Organizing for student power, fighting for educational justice.

The Ohio Student Association works to give students in Ohio the tools and infrastructure necessary to be advocates for our own collective social, environmental and economic well-being. Most communities in Ohio are not organized in line with their own political interests and vision. Right now students in Ohio are organized either to go to prison, to enter the military, or to take on enormous sums of student loan debt.
The Ohio Student Association organizes for educational justice by fighting the dual problems of skyrocketing tuition and debt and the school-to-prison pipeline. The OSA builds student power to fight for a strong publicly financed education system that is equitable and accessible to all of Ohio’s working families.
Learn how to get involved HERE.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

RAPPORT Meeting: Interfaith Dialogue With RAPP XXVIII

On Monday, February 25th, RAPP XXVIII is cordially invited to RAPPORT. Both groups have expressed interest in exploring religious & spiritual diversity, so join us for an interfaith dialogue.

Location TBA- Keep an eye on Facebook

RAPP VI Alum Dr. Bluezette Marshall Serving as UC Interim Chief Diversity Officer

From UC President Dr. Santa Ono:

January 30, 2013

TO:         Deans, Department Heads and Directors

FROM:  President Santa J. Ono

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Bleuzette Marshall as Interim Chief Diversity Officer, effective Feb. 6, 2013.  A University of Cincinnati alumna, Bleuzette has worked at UC and the UC Foundation for nearly 21 years, starting in Ethnic Programs and Services and at the African American Cultural and Resource Center, and most recently in development at the UC Foundation. Since 2004, her work at the Foundation has taken her from Director of Development to Senior Director of Development.  Since the inception of the position of Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in 2007, she has assisted the CDO and the President's Diversity Council.

As a respected member of the UC administration with over two decades of experience in advancement, alumni affairs, diversity and inclusion, facilitation, organizational development, project management, student affairs and teaching, Bleuzette has gained an awareness of UC culture that will be essential in moving our university forward as we continue to implement the Diversity Plan and build upon the accomplishments of the university's first CDO, Mitchel Livingston, who retired at the end of 2012. Bleuzette has led several successful fundraising initiatives benefiting the Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program, developed an affinity-based giving program for African American alumni, and served as a key organizer of the Onyx & Ruby Gala - a formal recognition ceremony honoring distinguished alumni of color. She also developed a system of accountability to enhance diversity and inclusiveness practices throughout the university, designed and co-chaired the university-wide diversity conference for three years, and conducted and analyzed a university-wide diversity assessment.

Bleuzette holds three degrees from UC, including a BA in psychology (1992), a Master of Education (2001) and PhD in educational studies (2009).
Louis Bilionis, Dean of the College of Law and former chair of the Diversity Council, will chair a national search for a permanent CDO at the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year. This position will continue to report to the President and serve on the President's Cabinet, but is now separate from the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Student Social Justice Training Institute 2013 - Jul 17th-20th!

From SJTI:
Student Social Justice Training Institute 2013
University of Massachusetts Lowell
July 17-20, 2013

The Social Justice Training Institute will provide an an intensive developmental opportunity for students to examine the complex dynamics of oppression and to develop strategies to foster positive change on their campuses and in their communities.  Students who attend the institute will be given the opportunity to explore the identities that make up who they are and better understand the extent to which these identities impact all they do.

Through facilitated activities and exercises along with small group dialogue, participants will engage in conversations that will challenge and support them in their journey toward understanding how they can each - individually - impact our global community.  The institute is open to 50 undergraduate students on college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Cost is $495 which includes registration, lodging, and meals. Free ground transportation options will also be available. Please check in the upcoming weeks for more information on important dates and deadlines (application deadline in April), tentative schedule, lodging accommodations and travel suggestions. Additional questions can be sent to

Two Campus Bike Lockers Available for Spring Semester Rental

From UC Sustainability:

Bike Lockers
Two bike lockers are available for rental for spring semester.  Keep your bike safe and out of the weather for just $20/semester (plus a refundable $40 key deposit).  Find out more details here and email Wes Munzel at with questions and to reserve a locker.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

UC LGBT Athletes - If You Can Play, You Can Play

From UC Athletics:
Cincinnati LGBT Athletes - If You Can Play, You Can Play

We Are Bearcats, We Are One Team

Shades of You Annual Prom Dress Bazaar - Donate Dresses through Mar 1st!

From Shades of You:
Shades of You Presents:
5th Annual Prom Dress Bazaar

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Prom Dress Bazaar is a combination of a banquet, boutique, and a day of indulgence all wrapped into one.  On this day, every girl and her guest is treated like a queen!
It is a day for high school girls to reflect on inner beauty, become self empowered, and mingle with some respectable women of UC.

With the help of your donation, all girls will take home a prom dress FREE of charge.

When: NOW - March 1st, 2013
Where: University of Cincinnati
Dress Drop Off Locations:
      AACRC (60 W. Charlton)
      Ethnic Programs & Services (555 Steger)

**Sign in at the desk to be entered in a raffle for a prize**

For questions contact Tiffany Peterson at

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sustainability Film Series: A Small Act - Feb 18th!

From UC Sustainability:

On Monday, February 18, at 7pm, in the MainStreet Cinema, the film series continues with A Small Act.  This film tells the inspiring story of a young Kenyan student whose education was sponsored through a Swedish foundation and the foundation he started to honor the generosity he received.

Attendees are invited to stay after each film for a short discussion of its issues and themes led by our Sustainability Advocates.

Two Audition Dates Remain for METRO CWEST Talent Show - Feb 21st & 22nd!

From METRO CWEST Talent Show:

I'm so excited to announce that auditions for the 2013 METRO CWEST Talent Show will be taking place over the next two weeks on-campus. You and your friends will have the opportunity to showcase your talents and win up to $750! Acts of all kinds and sizes are welcome to tryout. The final show will take place in Zimmer Auditorium on March 8 and feature 12 lucky acts. Please see the important information below:

Audition Dates and Times (All auditions will take place in TUC 419AB from 6-9 PM. Location subject to change.):
Thursday, February 21
Friday, February 22

1st Place: $750
2nd Place: $500
3rd Place: $250

For more information on how to audition, donate or to reserve your seat to this year's METRO CWEST Talent Show please visit us at and follow @WomenofCWEST and @MenofMetro.
Proceeds of this year's show will be given to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati.

Friday, February 15, 2013

$tart $mart Workshop - Feb 20th!

From the UC Women's Center:
Graduating Women Students are cordially invited to attend the...
$tart $mart Workshop

Learn skills to negotiate salary and benefits for the job you want after graduation!

February 20
743 Steger

Free Dinner Provided!

RSVP to by 5pm, February 18th

Limited space available. Reserve your spot today!

For questions, email or call 513-556-3279
Sponsored by the UC Women's Center

LGBTQ Black History Program - Feb 19th!

From UC LGBTQ Center & the AACRC:

Mark your calendars and join the LGBTQ Center and the African American Cultural & Resource Center for our LGBTQ Black History Program.

An Absurd Conversation on RAINBOes and Color

Date: February 19
Time: 5:30-7 PM
Location: AACRC (60 W. Charlton)

Chicken * Queer people * Black people * prizes * Entertainment

Tweet questions about queer Blacks @UC_LGBTQCenter
There will be a game. The prize will be amazing. Only 20 people will be allowed to play.  If you want to play, email:

Save the Date: RAPP Pin Day! April 18th!

For the RAPP 25 Year Reunion in 2011, we ordered RAPP lapel pins to give to all participants. Since then, we've made a tradition of giving these pins to RAPPers as they graduate at their banquet and as small tokens of gratitude to key RAPP supporters.

On Thursday, April 18th we invite you to join us in welcoming the newest class of RAPP alumni into the community on RAPP Pin Day!  RAPP XXVIII will have received theirs the evening before.

Lost your lapel pin?  Stop by the RAPP Office and get a new one!

On RAPP Pin Day, stop by sporting your lapel pin in the RAPP Office (669 Steger) for a gift & photo.
Marjorie & Jojo sport their RAPP lapel pins at the RAPP XXVII Tuesday Banquet!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The One Hour Orgasm - TONIGHT!

From Shades of You:

Come out TONIGHT for Shades of You's annual program the One Hour Orgasm!!
This program will have fun ways to explore the body, sexual health and exciting, new products!

Part of our experience will be brought to you by the UC Wellness Center and the other half brought to you by Pure Romance!

Where: 310 University Pavilion
When: February 14th, 5PM

This is sure to be a Great time. Don't forget your wallets!!

Tell Us Why You Joined RAPP, Get Featured HERE!

As a part of promoting the application period for Accelerating Racial Justice 2013 and RAPP XXIX, we want to share people's stories of the many journeys we had to our RAPP intensive.  These stories will be featured here on the RAPP Blog and throughout our other social media channels.

If you're a RAPP alum, please take a few minutes to share why you joined RAPP in an email to Rebecca Lehman, RAPP Program Coordinator.  Feel free to attach favorite photos or video!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Save the Date: RAPP Shirt Day! March 14th!

Mark the day down now:  Thursday, March 14th is RAPP Shirt Day!

Whether it's your official RAPP t-shirt, an ARJ baseball shirt, a Social Justice League polo, a 25th Reunion t-shirt, or a homemade piece of RAPP schwag, wear it with pride on Thursday, March 14th!

On RAPP Shirt Day, stop by the RAPP Office (669 Steger) sporting your RAPP shirt for some extra office fun and a small prize!

What's that?  A swarm of RAPP shirts overhead!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Accepting Applications for ARJ 2013 & RAPP XXIX!

This week marks the "official" start of recruitment for Accelerating Racial Justice 2013 and RAPP XXIX!

September through April
Applications due Friday, August 30th

The academic year long program is RAPP's long-running and comprehensive social justice education program.  It is great for Bearcats who want an on-going educational experience with a committed group.

If you'll be in Cincinnati for your studies for the full academic year and are available on Wednesday evenings, this is recommended as our more comprehensive program.

Tentatively scheduled: August 12-16, 2013
Applications due Friday, May 3rd
The five-day summer intensive is RAPP's newer and more accessible racial justice and inclusive leadership program.  It is great for Bearcats who are interested in social justice but aren't able to commit to the 9-month program.

If you're not in Cincinnati throughout the full academic year or have prior commitments on Wednesday evenings, this is recommended as a great way to build and enhance a foundation of racial justice and inclusive leadership and identify other ways to practice these throughout the remainder of the academic year.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

And the Survey Says!... Allies & Allyship Reflections Part 3 of 3: Best Practices

For the ninth meeting of RAPP XXVIII, our facilitation team decided to play a game! We're in the process of exploring the concept of allies & allyship in social justice and decided to survey as many folks as we could on short notice about it to build a game of Family Feud.

Read the background on this in the first post of this series and learn about common mistakes in the second post.

What is the most effective thing an ally can do?
This question appeared on the survey with the following additional explanation:  "What behaviors/strategy/skill/knowledge makes an ally outstanding and/or effective?"  We asked folks to specify one or two things, even knowing the full answer is much more complex.

The intention behind this question was to get guidance from people on what to do, instead of just what not to do.  We encouraged people to respond in terms of however they defined ally.

And the Survey Says!
The eight most common responses, from most frequently cited to least, are:

Friday, February 8, 2013

And the Survey Says!... Allies & Allyship Reflections Part 2 of 3: Common Mistakes

For the ninth meeting of RAPP XXVIII, our facilitation team decided to play a game! We're in the process of exploring the concept of allies & allyship in social justice and decided to survey as many folks as we could on short notice about it to build a game of Family Feud.

Read the background on this in the first post of this series.

What is the most common "mistake" you see allies make?
This question appeared on the survey with the following additional explanation:  "What behaviors/language/ignorance/habit makes someone who's well-intended not actually an ally, in your mind?"  We asked folks to specify one or two things, even knowing the full answer is much more complex.

The intention behind this question was to get "real talk" answers about the everyday oppressive and hurtful things well-intended people do.  We encouraged people to respond in terms of however they defined ally.

And the Survey Says!
The eight most common responses, from most frequently cited to least, are:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And the Survey Says!... Allyship Reflections Part 1 of 3: Common Challenges

For the ninth meeting of RAPP XXVIII, our facilitation team decided to play a game! We're in the process of exploring the concept of allies & allyship in social justice and decided to survey as many folks as we could on short notice about it to build a game of Family Feud.

Rather than just share what we did with the survey results, why not share the actual results (as I analyzed them for the game, with the meeting in mind, and editorialized in their write-up - contact me (Rebecca) for the raw results if you'd like to work through them in your own way).

What is an ally?
In RAPP, we don't used fixed definitions for much of anything - which extends to the definition of "ally" and "allyship."  That said, in implementing the curriculum we approach this with what we sometimes call the "holistic" definition of allyship while acknowledging both that there are other definitions and that most of the group is acquainted with what we sometimes call the "traditional" definition.

The "traditional" approach says that anyone from a dominant group can ally with any subordinated groups in the process to end the oppression from which I benefit.  For example, one can be a white ally around racism, a straight ally around heterosexism, an temporarily able ally around ableism, a male ally around sexism, a cisgender ally around cissexism, and so forth.

The "holistic" approach says that anyone can ally to a group that's not their own, regardless of whether our identity is dominant, subordinated, or both (in intersectional work) in the issues on which we're working. Some examples:  White, Black, Latin@, bi- & multi-racial folks can all work to end oppression and marginalization of Asian & Pacific Islander people .  Straight, gay, lesbian, asexual folks can all work to end the invisibility and stereotyping of pansexual people.  Temporarily able and folks with a range of disabilities can support the advocates working to spread the word to end the word.

What makes it hard to be an ally?
The question appeared on the survey with the following additional explanation:

For example: What are the challenges?  What causes you to not be an ally all the time?  What is scary about being an ally?

The intention behind this question was to get "real talk" answers about the everyday challenges one may face when striving to be an ally.  We encouraged people to respond in terms of however they defined ally.

And the Survey Says!
The eight most common responses, from most frequently cited to least, are:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

BAC Spring Cabaret Auditions

Black Arts Collaborative is holding auditions for their Spring Cabaret, which will be paying homage to black arts throughout history. They are looking for poets, singers, dancers, actors, artists, rappers and people interested in stage crew.

If you are interested in being a part of this show, come out this week during the following dates & times:

TUESDAY (427 TUC): 6-9pm
WEDNESDAY (423 TUC): 5-8pm
THURSDAY (415AB TUC): 6-9pm
FRIDAY (423 TUC): 5-9pm
SATURDAY (423 TUC): 1-5pm

There will be a list of all songs, poems, etc available at the audition site, so you can decide what you would like to participate in.

If you have any questions about the show or auditions, contact the executive producer, Darienne Jordan email:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Help RAPP in Three Minutes! Take Our Survey on Allyship!

In preparation for a RAPP XXVIII meeting, we're trying to gather insights from our community at large.  Whether you're a Bearcat or not, please take a few minutes to complete this three-question survey on allies & allyship.

One click, three questions!
We'll reveal what we did with this - and, likely, the information we gather - after this Wednesday's RAPP XXVIII meeting!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

National Young Feminist Leadership Conference - Mar 23rd-25th!

From the Feminist Majority Foundation:

The Feminist Campus Team knows that this is an important time for your groups as you organize and plan actions and events for the semester ahead. We want to make sure you have all the tools you need to plan your delegation's trip to this year's National Young Feminist Leadership Conference.
There is a ton of helpful information over at theNYFLC homepage, and we recommend you check out our fundraising page where you can find lots of suggestions to help your group raise funds for your trip to Washington, D.C. Also, make sure to book your hotel room with the DoubleTree Hotel before March 9th to receive a special discounted rate! Check out the NYFLC hotel website for information and to reserve your spot.
As usual, this year's National Young Feminist Leadership conference will provide leaders and members with valuable leadership training and guidance from two days full of amazing panels and speakers on a wide range of feminist issues. Here are just a few examples of what topics you can expect:
  • Building a response to the Attacks on Abortion and Family Planning and the State and Federal Level
  • Activist Skill Building in Social Media, Fundraising, and more
  • Organizing in Your State Capitol
  • Attacks on Collective Bargaining and Women Workers
  • Global Reproductive Rights
  • Ending Gender-Based Violence
  • State Referendums and LGBTQ Rights
  • Eco-Feminism
  • And many more!
In addition, we will be giving out prizes to the three largest delegations as well as the group that has traveled the furthest! When you are ready to register your group, email us at for details on group registration discounts.Register today!
As always, your National Campus Organizer is here to answer your questions and help find solutions with you as you begin to plan your conference trip, so do not hesitate to contact us!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ko Named ASEE 2012 National Co-Op Student of the Year

From UC News:

Ko Named ASEE 2012 National Co-Op Student of the Year

Benjamin Ko, CEAS biomedical engineering senior, was recently named recipient of the American Society for Engineering Education’s 2012 National Co-Op Student of the Year Award. This award is a national recognition of his outstanding and intensive co-op with AtriCure, Inc.
Date: 12/21/2012
By: Arthur Davies
Phone: (513) 556-9181
Photos By: Lisa ventre, UC Photographic Services
The Cooperative & Experiential Education Division (CEED) of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has named Benjamin Ko, University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) biomedical engineering senior, as the 2012 National Co-Op Student of the Year. Ko was selected by ASEE CEED for his outstanding and intensive biomedical engineering co-op with local employer AtriCure, Inc. spanning over the last three years.

Ko has done all three of his co-op rotations at AtriCure, Inc., a company that develops, manufactures and sells surgical ablation systems. Through his experience, Ko has been able to apply what he learns in the classroom as a student in the CEAS School of Energy, Environmental, Biological, and Medical Engineering (SEEBME) as well as gaining a valuable skill-set of technical expertise and interpersonal skills through his collaboration with design engineers.
During his first round of co-op work at AtriCure, Ko worked on a product development team making medical devices for cardiac surgery. He stated, “I was really able to see what my contributions were. It is a really important step for a student worker to take some ownership in the projects and see that he or she is making a difference and see that the engineers actually value you as a member of their team.” 
By his second co-op rotation, Ko had made such an impression on the company that he was offered to lead the training of the US sales force on AtriCure’s new cryogenic product. “Ben was one of only two engineers who conducted sales training and who participated in the release system validation studies around the US,” said Christopher Park, AtriCure's director of engineering (2004-2012) and Ben’s supervisor. “Ben was able to communicate both the technical design aspect of the medical device and the science behind its functional operation in a manner such that even a non-technical sales person was able to comprehend and take the message forward.”

11th Annual Cincinnati Neighborhood Summit - Feb 16th!

Mark your calendars for a big day in Cincinnati! The 11th annual Neighborhood Summit is calling youth to the table! For the first time the summit is focused on engaging local teens and young adults in a call to action. City officials, community councils, school board members and about 500 neighbors of all ages will be looking to the youth at this summit to hear what ideas and talents they have to offer. Some high schools are offering extra credit in Civic classes. Some colleges are working it into their curriculum. Other groups are making attendance to the summit a service project. It’s a great event for mentors and mentees to learn together. Great for young and mature people feeling disconnected. Great for business and organizations to network. We are seeking teenagers and the young professionals to join in our city’s conversation. It’s a great opportunity to see firsthand how the different pieces of the city work together and how individuals make a real difference in our future. Help us highlight the teenagers and young adults at this year’s Neighborhood Summit Saturday, February 16, 7:30a-3:30p at Cintas Center at Xavier University.
Register you and your group of young adults today! We want to flood this summit with young vibrant energy! And we need a head count for the FREE LUNCH! See attachment or follow the link for a list of sessions for the day

Friday, February 1, 2013

Renovated AACRC Reveals UC's Black History

From UC News:

WATCH: Renovated African American Cultural and Resource Center Reveals UC’s Black History

The grand reopening celebration took place on Jan. 15, which marked the 84th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

Date: 1/17/2013 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot   
A packed house of UC students, staff, administrators, alumni and community members formally celebrated the grand reopening of UC’s African American Cultural and Resource Center (AACRC) on Jan. 15. The $325,000 renovations expand the AACRC to more than double its original capacity. The center had been closed for renovations since last August.

Revered alumna Marian Spencer (A&S ’42), University of Cincinnati President Santa J. Ono, and assistant AACRC director Ewaniki Moore-Hawkins (’02 and ’06, LCOB) performed the ribbon-cutting that formally kicked off the grand reopening ceremony. Eric Abercrumbie, director of the AACRC and Ethnic Programs and Services, performed the libation ceremony of pouring water on a plant to symbolize the past, present and future. 

“We know we’re not here because of us, so this is why we’re going to start with libation,” said Abercrumbie. “Libation is a ceremony where we recognize our ancestors, those who’ve gone on before.”

“I’m so proud that the university has a place like this to come together,” said President Ono. “I will say to you today that I am absolutely committed to continuing this dream.”

A Place For Everyone to Go: Bathrooms, Gender, and One Program's On-Going Learning Process

First posted at the ACPA Commision for Social Justice Educators blog:

“The bathroom, as we know it, actually represents the crumbling edifice of gender in the twentieth century.”
-Halberstam Here, 1998

In my every day work, I'm one of many engaged in a very practical pursuit: Making sure everyone has a place "to go."  The area on which I focus most greatly is bathrooms accessibility and safety around gender, though there are many great motivations that intersect and align together around the topic of bathroom accessibility.

Bathrooms & Gender Construction
As Spencer Cahill noted in 1985, "Every time we enter a sex segregated bathroom... we display our sex-identity to the audience-at-large and reaffirm its importance."  A nearly global norm is for there to be two kinds of public bathrooms:  Ones for men and ones for women.

We are taught there are two kinds of bathrooms for only two genders which should remain apart; these lifelong lessons then become the foundational argument for the "natural" need for these two kinds of bathrooms.  As Matthew Kopas describes, "The existence of two - and only two - separate bathroom spaces props up the cultural fantasy that all persons can be neatly categorized as male or female, and forecloses the possibilities of alternative identifications."

So much of how we shape gender in culture can be learned by paying attention to our bathrooms.  A powerful survey of this is provided in Sociological Images collection of bathroom signage - we see that not only is the male-female binary reinforced, we see how colors, clothing, genitals, body shapes, body language, body position for urinating, and even animals are coded by gender.

Where your gender "should" wear bows lets you know which bathroom to use...
Barriers Created by Binaried Bathrooms
Our current mode of bathrooms that are gender segregated by a male-female binary does work for a group of people: Those who are perceived to fit this binary.  For all other folks, bathrooms become a place of potential and real social hostility, harassment, expulsion, being reported to security, police arrests, and physical violence.

A study published in 2008 found that almost half of trans women, 71% of trans men, and 89% of genderqueer participants experienced discomfort with having to choose a gendered bathroom (Factor and Rothblum).  This discomfort was driven by the accumulative impact of social hostility, threats, harassment, and violence commonly experienced by trans* and gender non-conforming people generally in public and in gender-segregated spaces like bathrooms in particular.

The Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Campaign at the University of Chicago explains well the issues people face trying to find a place to go in male-female binary-only spaces.  In particular, it highlights the dilemma that some people will oppose every choice a trans* or gender non-conforming person makes in regards to which bathroom to use.

The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that a quarter of transgender and gender non-conforming people have been denied access to bathrooms in educational settings and over a fifth have been denied access to appropriate bathrooms at work (Full ReportExecutive Summary).

Resistance to Change

Gender segregated multi-user bathrooms were described as preferable to single-user bathrooms because they were seen as more efficient, more practical on a wide scale, and the home of important (gendered) social interactions.  Gender inclusive multi-user bathrooms were met with great resistance:
"Whereas single-stall gender-neutral bathrooms can be easily explained via a comparison to most home bathrooms, the multi-stall option is extremely unusual and potentially frightening – not just due to its novelty,  but because it presents the possibility of interpersonal interaction between genders in a space that is simultaneously coded as private and public."
Arguments against mixed-gender multi-user bathrooms boiled down to:
  • Arguments about the safety of children and women
  • Heavily gendered notions of "privacy" - particularly what men and women should not expose to each other (defecation, menstruation)
  • "Unnatural" and "improper" mixing of genders that is unacceptable due to moral, social, and/or religious codes
A Variety of Solutions
As alluded to above, there are many solutions proposed to create more bathrooms accessible to all.  

A common one is single-user bathrooms being open to all.  This is particularly popular as it provides a great example of how building inclusion around an issue can benefit many - these bathrooms are a boon to parents and people with medical assistants, are usually built wheelchair accessible, and afford all users greater privacy and space than multi-user bathrooms.

Signage for unisex bathrooms usually use gender binaried and ableist imagery.
Organizations all across the country are also using and advocating for multi-user gender inclusive bathrooms.  These include both permanent ones and ones that are created temporarily for conferences, meetings, and other gatherings.  (The ACPA CSJE printed a reflection on one of these temporary ones on page 2 of the Summer Semester 2012 Newsletter.)

Bathrooms Aren't Enough
It's important to note that bathrooms are only one piece of building gender inclusive campuses.  As Brett Beemyn, Andrea Domingue, Jessica Pettitt, and Todd Smith outlined in their 2005 "Suggested Steps to Make Campuses More Trans-Inclusive", colleges and universities must also work intentionally to address structural exclusion in health care, residence halls, locker rooms, records & documents, public inclusion, and programming, training, & support.

Keshet provides an overview of their growing experience and practices as a broader organization.  Along with bathroom accessibility as a larger look at facilities, they point out the need to address language, ritual, education, political & social action, and outreach.

My Organization's Story
I currently work with a social justice education program at a large public university that's actively working along the lines described by Beemyn et al above.  Students, faculty, and staff are actively engaged in systemic and social change action.  While we have a building policy that mandates single-user gender inclusive bathrooms being built in all new and renovated buildings and exponentially increased the number of these bathrooms in the last few years, many of our 60,000+ community members restrict their bathroom trips due to having to go several buildings away from their work, study, and classroom space to safely use the restroom.

When I first became involved as a member and leader, we didn't have this on our radar.  We met in buildings with only male-female gender segregated multi-user bathrooms.  On our three retreats per year we used mixed gender multi-users - but we did so without reflection and comment.

Around 2008, several students involved in our program also became involved in a campus trans* and genderqueer organization, GenderBloc.  We began reflecting on the bathrooms at retreats, but didn't address the bathrooms in our meeting space.

Throughout 2009-10, we converted both multi-user bathrooms on the floor we met on to "non-gendered" and said that anyone who needed a gender-segregated bathroom had to go to the nearest one they could find (this meant leaving the building - which locked after exiting).

Realizing that this practice could overwhelm students new to the practice and be prohibitive for students with religious needs around gender segregation, in 2010-11 we began our current practice.  Students demonstrate this - our "spinny wheel" that creates an intermittently segregated restroom in addition to an all-gender bathroom:

With these current practices, we've found that students and others in the space adapt well to the expectations when they're outlined clearly and repetitively, that this provides a powerful learning experience in privilege and accountability for our cisgendered students, that these signs are great conversation starters and educational tools with the groups we share spaces with, and that this is a great example that we as a program must continually learn and adapt our practices.  I'm excited to continue learning and growing to create better inclusion.

Academic References (web references linked above):
Cahill, Spencer. 1985. “Meanwhile Backstage: Public Bathrooms and the Interaction Order.”
Urban Life 14(1):33-58.

Factor, Rhonda and Esther Rothblum. 2008. “Exploring gender identity and community among three groups of transgender individuals in the United States: MTFs, FTMs, and genderqueers.” Health Sociology Review 17(3): 235-253.

Kopas, Matthew.  "The Illogic of Separation: Examining Arguments About Gender-Neutral Public Bathrooms." Thesis. U of Washington.  Web.

Rebecca Lehman is Program Coordinator of the University of Cincinnati Racial Awareness Program, which offers a 9-month social justice education co-curricular intensive, a 5-day racial justice and inclusive leadership summer program, a social justice peer educator development program, and workshop, trainings, & retreats for campus and community organizations.  She is an UC alumna with a BA in English Literature and MS in Community Health Promotion & Education, was "raised" professionally in residence life, and spent a few years overseas working in publishing and educational management.  Rebecca participated in the Social Justice Training Institute June 2011 and SJTI 2, participates in the National Association for Multicultural Education, and is currently in training to be a yoga teacher planning to apply this through work with the Prison Yoga Project.  She dreams of one day owning this toilet.

Peace Corps Visit, Schedule a Speaker - Feb 25th!

From the Center for Service Learning & Civic Engagement:
The spring campaign season is about to begin, and I wanted to inform you of the following events I will be holding on UC’s campus in February.  Please forward to interested students, faculty, and/or staff who might be interested in learning more about opportunities with Peace Corps.
·        Monday, February 25th 
o   Office Hours, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., Career Development Center, 104 University Pavilion.
Stop by the Career Development Center to speak directly with a Peace Corps Recruiter! This is a great opportunity for those interested in learning more about Peace Corps, current applicants, or those who just want more guidance on the application process, to meet with a seasoned recruiter in a one-on-one format. No appointments necessary, just stop in!
o   Information Session, 6:00 p.m., Tangemen University Center (TUC) 419 A-B
We will watch a short video highlighting a few volunteers in their global communities, talk about the application process, and discuss the benefits of service. Former Volunteers will speak about their services and to answer any questions. All are welcome!
I would also love to speak to any classes while I will be on campus.  My class talks typically take about 5-10 minutes where I speak to students briefly about Peace Corps and advertise the events that will be held on campus.  Feel free to contact me if you would be interested in hosting me in one of your classes!
Finally, I have attached an electronic flyer to the email- feel free to post them in or around your classroom/office. 
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, and for more information on recruiting events in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, please visit
Thank you for your generous support of Peace Corps, and I look forward to visiting UC!  
Katie Sylvester
Field Based Recruiter - Cincinnati
U.S. Peace Corps