Classes at NC State are sometimes sparsely located in some very weird places. For some, this means having a GEP in a random hall on North Campus. A friend of mine told me her class is actually held in a C-store. Despite the majority of my classes being held in Tompkins or Caldwell, I was surprised to find out that my FLS 333: Sounds of Spanish class was held in Dabney Hall. Of course, every floor is different, but imagine my shock when I found that the floor my class is held on has no women’s restroom.
That was not a typo. There is a floor in Dabney Hall where there is no women’s restroom. I figured this out one day where I really had to pee and after doing several circles on the third floor, I gave up and went to the second floor to a similarly outdated women’s restroom. In said restroom, there is one stall and one lone toilet that had no stall doors. These bathrooms are not only weird, but they’re also incredibly annoying when more than one person has to use them — which is very frequent on the second floor of Dabney.
Dabney Hall is home to the NC State Department of Chemistry, which means I have stayed far away from this building. Of course, NC State prides itself on its STEM-heavy course loads. While STEM began as a heavily male-dominated field, this is not so much the case anymore. As the stereotype rigidly goes away, many women engage in STEM degrees here at NC State. There is even a living and learning village called WISE, which was created to aid first and second-year women in STEM. According to the chemistry department’s current faculty page, more than one-third of faculty are women.
While the lack of women’s restrooms may seem like a very minor convenience to some, this disproportionately affects all women who use this floor. It may come as no surprise that this issue exists as it was built in 1969, according to NCSU Library Archives. The building has had its fair share of work done and continues to be fixed up, but I don’t see this problem at the top of anyone’s lists.
If I’m completely honest, I think the issue is so overlooked that people just forgot about it since it’s the third floor of Dabney. However, even though it may not get the same traffic flow as the first and second floors where the larger lecture halls are located, I know numerous people who have had problem-solving and recitation classes for certain courses like calculus held there. It’s frustrating that there’s a men’s restroom that is easily accessible, yet, I have to walk downstairs and circle the building just to find one decent restroom.
One easy solution would be to create several gender-neutral restrooms throughout Dabney Hall. While this may seem like a difficult feat, many other areas throughout campus already have single-occupancy restrooms. In fact, the GLBT center has a running list of these restrooms including where they’re located and their hours.
I am not expecting Dabney Hall or NC State to fix this issue immediately, but I feel it is critical to keep talking about this. It may be “just a bathroom,” but men might not see the problem because their bathroom has always existed. NC State cannot just keep putting up shiny new buildings on Centennial campus in the name of development. It’s the little things like making accessible bathrooms for all that can make students’ lives easier and make them feel welcome in a particular environment.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on Sept. 22 at 12:33 a.m.