The week before Spring Break, there was an incident reported on the second floor of Centennial Hall involving a male trespassing in the women’s bathroom. Carolyn Ritchie, junior psychology major, said she entered the bathroom and found a male fighting with his girlfriend, a resident on another floor of Centennial Hall.
The perpetrator allegedly followed his girlfriend into the bathroom in the middle of an argument.
Ritchie said that she was disturbed by the male’s presence and asked him to leave repeatedly. “I told the guy to get out,” Ritchie said, “and he looked at me like, ‘Are you gonna make me leave?'”
Ritchie, feeling threatened, walked outside of the bathroom and said, “You can’t be in here. This is a girls’ bathroom.” The scene attracted the attention of the Community Advisor (CA) on that side of Centennial 2 and the incident was reported to the Residence Director of the floor, Julie Harow.
Residents of the floor said that the lock on the girls’ bathroom door had been broken since the start of fall semester and therefore anybody could enter. However, the lock was promptly fixed following the incident. The ResLife staff of Centennial Hall chose not to comment on the matter.
Ritchie said she feels safer after measures were taken by ResLife to address the problem. “At first I didn’t really care (about people entering the wrong bathrooms) but once I saw it happen that changed,” Ritchie said.
According to Michael Robbins, FYE Area Director, “(People entering wrong bathrooms) does happen, but is not a common issue that CAs are informed of or catch themselves.” It is assumed that most cases go undocumented.
Robbins said, “Sometimes a resident has a guest of the opposite gender over, and if the resident cannot find someone to get their guest into the correct know the code for. Although it may be inconvenient, they really should be escorting their guests to the common area bathrooms.”
Other cases, Robbins said, involve people entering the wrong bathrooms as a joke or a prank.
“Residents need to understand that they could be judicially charged with a variety of policy offenses if they are caught in the wrong gendered bathroom,” Robbins said. “The bathrooms can only be as secure as the residents keep them.”
Many students find the locks on the bathrooms a nuisance and have argued that the locks should be removed because of the inconvenience they pose when residents have guests of the opposite sex visiting.
Chris Walsh, freshman philosophy major, said, “I don’t understand why there are locks on the doors.”
“It’s a pain when I have my dad or any male visitor here and I have to go all the way down the hall to open the door for him because of the codes,” Lauren Breslin, freshman health and exercise science major, said.”There’s no point in having the combinations because everyone finds them out anyway.”
Other students don’t see the necessity for the gendered bathroom policy in residence halls with community bathrooms at all and think that co-ed bathrooms would be a better idea.
“We’re all mature people. We share bathrooms with all our families. You know the people on your floor,” Brian McGrath, freshman history secondary education major, said.
Cat Flannery, freshman elementary education major, agreed. “I don’t care about guys being in the girls’ room,” she said.
Other students support the gendered bathrooms policy. “I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable with guys and girls using the same bathroom. It is better how it stands. Co-ed bathrooms would definitely create problems,” a student who requested to remain anonymous said.