To Teresa Amott and the Old Main Faculty & Staff:
We would like to reach out on behalf of Common Ground as many concerned and upset students have brought to our attention that the faculty and staff have taken it upon themselves to take away one of the two gender-neutral bathrooms in Old Main. They have turned it into a faculty/staff restroom in order to provide faculty and staff with free sanitary items. This was done under the pretense of feminism as seen by the posters inside the restroom saying that it is the final challenge of equality to provide sanitary items. The signs, most likely put up by faculty and staff, seem to lack a true understanding of the fight for equality, the true nature and goals of feminism and where we as a society are in this fight. While providing sanitary items is definitely something everyone should be fighting for, I would not call it the final challenge in equality when things like equal wage and access to bathrooms still haven’t been accomplished. These actions promote a culture of white feminism on campus in which the only people that deserve to have these ‘human rights,’ to feel comfortable in their bathrooms and to be unconcerned with other feminist issues are middle class, white, cisgender women. These actions do not seem to align with the values that Knox College was founded upon.
Knox College expresses a deep desire to create a diverse community based on acceptance and inclusivity, but fails to commit these thoughts to action. When the gender neutral bathrooms were put into place not that long ago, the student body interpreted it as a sign that the Knox administration stood by its trans and non-binary students. However, by backtracking in such a manner, the administration seems to be implying they care less about actually helping a marginalized group on campus and more about appearing that they do. Additionally, suggesting that Old Main only needs one gender-neutral bathroom implies a belief that there is never more than one trans or non-binary student in need of a restroom at a time. This reflects a deep misunderstanding of the demographics of this school and sends an additional message that Knox is not anticipating an even more diverse student body in the future. We are sure the administration would never purposefully send this message to their students. We only ask that the Knox administration stands with their non-binary and trans students and makes the effort to be more inclusive, starting with providing these students with something as simple as bathrooms.
If Knox College feels that sanitary items are truly a human right and should be made accessible, we suggest that the college works with Students Against Sexism in Society, which has been working on making these items accessible and free to everyone on campus, not just Knox faculty and staff who have a reliable, steady source of income.
We would like to have a meeting with Teresa Amott to fully discuss the actions taken by the faculty and staff, and how Knox College can begin to provide non-binary and trans students with the resources they deserve. We strongly encourage any other Old Main faculty and staff members who would like their voices to be heard on this issue to attend this meeting. Please let us know when this meeting can take place.