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Faculty Restrooms: The New Civil Rights Frontier

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Author’s Note: This modest proposal is offered in response to a recent faculty senate resolution at UNC-Wilmington. I doubt that the tenured sexual revolutionaries are Swift enough to get the point. However, in the name of diversity I am submitting it anyway.

Dear Faculty Senate:

I am deeply ashamed of the faculty at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. For years, we have been demanding separate restrooms, which specifically exclude university students. For example, the door on the faculty men’s room in my building has a discriminatory sign reading “Faculty and Staff Only.” In fact, a note below the sign even goes so far as to provide directions to the “appropriate” restroom for students. I find this to be discriminatory, non-inclusive, and ultimately injurious to our diversity mission.

Anyone who has ever taught in higher education knows that some students perceive themselves to be on the same level as faculty members. In fact, many of them had the whole world figured out as teenagers – and they did it even before they finished going through puberty! So why should we impose our own definitions of who is and who is not a member of the learned elite upon those who wish to use the faculty restrooms?

Generally speaking, objective designations have no place in the postmodern university. They are intolerant and therefore should not be tolerated. We should take a stand by refusing to stand for them. And we should promote our diversity with a single unifying voice. Unanimity in defense of diversity should be our highest priority.

Aside from the philosophical issues involved, this idea of limiting restroom access to “faculty only” raises practical concerns. Put simply, it is utterly unenforceable. What are we going to do to ensure compliance? Shall we police restrooms by following students into bathroom stalls and demanding to see their doctoral degrees? I should hope not. That’s just not the kind of society in which I would wish to live.

As you already know, our faculty senate recently lectured the North Carolina legislature about its own form of restroom intolerance. The lesson took the form of a unanimous resolution demanding repeal of HB2. We showed our diversity by voting exactly the same way and standing up for perceived gender identity.

So now I propose that we begin practicing what we preach by ending “faculty only” restroom discrimination. Accordingly, I submit this resolution for your consideration:

Whereas, Fair and impartial treatment of students, faculty, staff, and the broader community in all terms and conditions of their interactions is fundamental to the University’s ongoing efforts to increase access to and inclusion in a community that nurtures learning and growth for all, and

Whereas, The UNC Code recognizes that discrimination against students, staff, and faculty on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status compromises the public mission of the University, and

Whereas, The UNCW Commitment to Equal Opportunity statement affirms that UNCW is committed to and will provide equality of educational and employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, gender, gender identity, sex, age, color, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, political affiliation, or veteran status.

Resolved, The UNCW Faculty Senate finds the existence of faculty restrooms injurious to the mission of the University to increase access to and inclusion in its community, and that these provisions are indirectly discriminatory along the lines of age and race – in addition to being directly discriminatory along the lines of perceived educational attainment.

Resolved, The UNCW Faculty Senate urges the North Carolina General Assembly to convene a special session to craft legislation banning faculty restrooms and the Governor of North Carolina to sign the legislation prior to the beginning of the next academic year.

It is time that our faculty started to live out its professed worldview. Unless we start to practice what we preach, the whole educational enterprise will go down the toilet.

I look forward to flushing out the details of my resolution soon.

Kind regards,

Mike S. Adams

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