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A “Single User Restroom” signs will be incorporated into the design and construction specifications for all lockable restrooms located on OHIO’s main campus and regional locations.

“Single User Restroom” signs will be incorporated into the design and construction specifications for all lockable restrooms located on OHIO’s main campus and regional locations.

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Ohio University restroom committee shares survey results, public forum feedback


An Ohio University committee asked to collect input from the campus community and developing restroom signage standards has shared its findings. The committee, comprised of OHIO administrators and faculty from Equal Opportunity and Accessibility; the LGBT Center; Architecture, Design and Construction; Environmental Health and Safety; Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the School of Communication Studies conducted a pilot survey and focus group in October 2015 and distributed a University-wide follow-up survey to obtain feedback on the top three restroom signage options last February.

“Having the ability to find an accessible, functional and safe restroom is a very human need, and providing signage that welcomes everyone to utilize it was integral to our finding a solution that meets our community’s needs,” said Dianne Bouvier, director of equal opportunity and accessibility. 

The initial purpose of the Restroom Committee was to utilize the concepts of Universal Design to develop standards for OHIO’s “one toilet” restrooms. Key goals included: 1) meeting the needs of the campus community and 2) ensuring that these restroom areas are ADA compliant, trans-friendly and family-friendly.

Results were mixed within the October 2015 pilot study. Using a 1-5 scale (5 being best), individual ratings showed: Restroom (4.75), Single User Restroom (4.375), All Gender Restroom (2.625), All Inclusive Restroom (2.125) and Universal Restroom (2.0). The rank ordering (1 being the most preferred comparatively) of signs results showed: Single User (1.375), Restroom (1.875), Universal Restroom (3.125), All Gender Restroom (3.375), and All Inclusive Restroom was the least preferred (3.75).

During the Restroom Public Forum in October, students, faculty and staff voiced that the option of “Restroom” with the ADA symbol implied that the space was only available for persons with disabilities. Additionally, some felt that it wasn’t clear if the restroom was a “single user” or “multi-user” facility. 

Based on the pilot survey and forum feedback, the Committee elected to conduct a second University-wide survey that included the three most-preferred designation options: “All Gender Restroom,” “Single User Restroom” and “Universal Restroom.” The survey was delivered to all faculty, staff and students last February. Of the 41,104 who received the survey, 3,710 responded.

Respondents indicated that they would be most comfortable entering a “one-toilet” facility that was labeled as a “Single User Restroom.” “Single User Restroom” signs will be incorporated into the design and construction specifications for all lockable restrooms located on OHIO’s main campus and regional locations.

The committee also plans to create educational messages that explain the “Single User Restroom” designation and stress the importance of being inclusive to all members of the campus community.

SURVEY RESULTS OVERVIEW

Quantitative Results

The following table provides a summary of the February 2016 survey results by campus.

 

Individual Ratings (1-5 each, highest is most preferred)

Comparative Rankings (1-3 relatively, lowest is most preferred)

 

All Gender

Single User

Universal

All Gender

Single User

Universal

All

3.10

3.76

2.94

2.21

1.69

2.13

Athens

3.32

3.93

3.13

2.19

1.71

2.14

Chillicothe

3.14

3.59

2.99

2.22

1.64

2.12

Eastern

3.32

3.81

3.35

2.27

1.65

2.11

Lancaster

2.95

3.75

2.76

2.27

1.54

2.17

Southern

2.79

3.68

2.74

2.27

1.70

2.09

Zanesville

2.87

3.51

2.88

2.33

1.61

2.05

For every campus, both in terms of individual ratings and comparative rankings, the preferred choice was “Single User Restroom.”
 

Qualitative Results

Examples of open text responses within the survey included:

  • I prefer "Single User". It explains the purpose perfectly. The "All" gender could be mistaken for multiple users at once. And, "Universal" doesn't really explain the purpose. It could be confusing for some people.
  • Equality!!!!!! Love that this survey is happening
  • I am fine with just ‘Restroom.’ If I am concerned for the safety of a child or parent, I go in with them, regardless.
  • I care less about what sign is on the bathroom than I care about there being more of these bathrooms.
  • I am okay with the idea of single-user restrooms. However, I hope the university never considers allowing men in women's restrooms or vice versa as many public schools are considering across the country to accommodate different lifestyles. I would never use a restroom on the university again.
  • Universal sounds like a restroom for aliens.
  • All Gender and Single User Restroom are both acceptable - Single User may be more indicative of the actual interior space.
  • What kind of survey is this? Complete twaddle. Just make a bathroom sign and call it a day.
  • As a parent and because I have assisted other adults in using restrooms, I appreciate how so-called "family-restrooms" allow for assisted use. I think that the term "single user" downplays this potential. On college campuses such as Athens, multiple users bathrooms may raise other issues. I think "universal" is very good and neutral. "All gender" remains my favorite as it is supportive of transgendered people.
  • Single user restroom or universal restroom puts nothing on gender so therefore it’s a win for no one which is a win for everyone.

Why call it a "Single User Restroom?”

Ohio University is committed to ensuring that ALL of us have access to accessible and inclusive restrooms. Accessing and using the bathroom can be a struggle and safety concern for many people with disabilities including those who may require the assistance of a care provider, individuals who are transgender or gender expansive, or individuals/families with small children or elderly parents. The “Single User Restroom” sign is designed to accommodate our diverse community’s needs.