UC San Diego’s first-ever multi-stall, gender-inclusive restroom will be installed as part of University Centers’ latest space-improvement project, joining the many gender-inclusive, single-occupancy bathrooms throughout campus. Following a unanimous UC Advisory Board vote in Spring Quarter 2018, the restrooms, along with the new adjacent restaurant, Dirty Birds, will be a supplement to the University Centers’ overarching project to develop a new dining and entertainment area at Price Center.
UCEN felt like it was time to have a gender-inclusive restroom on campus to accommodate for the diverse student population at UCSD, Director Sharon Van Bruggen told the UCSD Guardian.
“[UCEN] seeks to provide an inclusive environment, and adding a multistall, gender-inclusive restroom is one way we can do that,” Van Bruggen said. “Students have asked for multi-stall, gender-inclusive restrooms in the past.”
Given that the restaurant premises and the area around them will be remodeled regardless as part of the space-improvement project, UCEN says it found it opportune to introduce the gender-inclusive restroom. However, gendered restrooms will still be available to students in the food court and theater lobby. All those involved in managing the construction of the gender-inclusive restroom have expressed positivity and see the restroom as a necessary step forward for the inclusion of all genders.
“Everyone has shown support from the start. [UCEN] sought approval from UCAB,” Van Bruggen said. “It was also discussed with the vice chancellor of student affairs and the campus architect. And we reached out to the LGBT Resource Center to tell them about the project.”
Hoping to create an accommodating area like that of a neighborhood, UCEN will develop a space where students can have a typically San Diegan experience while remaining on campus. The area is being developed with the intent for students to relax as they watch sports or dine and drink.
“As part of the project, and as requested by UCAB, [UCEN] will provide a dining area and outdoor area that encourage students to enjoy a night out, right here on campus,” Van Bruggen said. “There will be multiple screens for sports viewing, and the design will celebrate UC San Diego Athletics.”
Dirty Birds, a local San Diegan bar and grill known for serving over 37 flavors of chicken wings, will be replacing the old Round Table Pizza at Price Center as part of the project. Although built jointly, the gender-inclusive restroom is not part of Dirty Birds’ leased premise; University Centers only contacted it to confirm that it agreed to have the restroom. The restaurant will first have to submit a plan to be reviewed and approved by UCAB, and it may need to go through multiple iterations before a final confirmation.
“UCAB reviewed several restaurants to fill this vacancy,” Van Bruggen said. “[It] looked at criteria such as concept, menu, value, price point, quality, sustainable practices, experience, success in San Diego, and more. Dirty Birds hit all [its] main criteria and [has] a proven track record of providing a fun sports-pub environment. The restaurant will have a Type 41 license to sell beer and wine.”
Dirty Birds is expected to open in Fall Quarter 2019.
photo by Kyra Buckley