SA passes resolution supporting gender-neutral bathrooms

The Students’ Association passed a resolution supporting single-occupancy, family and gender-neutral bathrooms at South Dakota State at its March 28 meeting.

Some senators were inspired to write a resolution supporting gender-neutral bathrooms after the “bathroom bill” passed through the South Dakota Legislature and was vetoed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

SB 1008 would have barred transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools from using the bathroom of the gender of which they identify. Instead, they would have been required to use the bathroom relating to the gender that was put on their birth certificate.

Resolution 15-22-R: Students’ Association Support of Continued Efforts to Foster an Environment of Inclusion through Campus Facilities also calls for an updated map of the restrooms on campus.

Sen. Lane Speirs said people have approached him asking to have the campus restrooms be more defined to fit different needs. This would be beneficial for people visiting campus, Speirs said.

Defining bathrooms for single-occupancy, family and gender-neutral would promote diversity and inclusion, Sen. Semehar Ghebrekidan said.

The university is addressing issues regarding facilities to make the campus more inclusive to transgender and other students, Speirs said.

In the Open Forum portion of the meeting, Chris Hartzler, a transgender student and executive member of the Gay Straight Alliance, gave a presentation to senators informing them about what transgender and non-binary are, as well as what it’s like being a transgender person.

The presentation was a rundown of Hartzler’s presentation from earlier in the month, From Us to You: Non-binary and Trans stories.

Senators asked questions from Hartzler after the presentation. The questions ranged from Hartzler’s personal experience on campus, mental health concerns and aggression toward transgender people.

Two other resolutions were passed at the meeting.

Resolution 15-21-R supported the restructure of the Student Federation. Changes to the Student Federation would lower the cost for the institutions represented by the organizational body to participate on the Student Federation. It would make it so each institution represented would pay 1/6 of the total Student Federation cost, according to bylaw changes.

Resolution 15-23-R, which passed unanimously, supported digital speed signs and flashing intersection crossing signs from the east parking lot. The intention of the resolution and signage was to make campus safer for students.

Resolution 15-24-R in support of additional University Police Officers was postponed until the next meeting so senators can become more informed about the topic with a presentation from Don Challis, associate vice president of safety and security.

SA approved the Schultz Hall Government constitution and rejected a special allocation request from GSA to help fund its Drag Show Game Night.

SA had its first readings for Resolution 15-25-R, recognizing Betty Nelson in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication for her work in the department, and Amendment 15-08-A, establishing a code of ethics for senators.

The next SA meeting will be Monday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark room in The Union.