SGA senate calls for inclusive restroom policies

mental supportvia Elise Gregg, PantherNOW

Ram Praneeth & Elise Gregg | PantherNOW Staff

Amid the growing discourse surrounding gender-neutral restroom accessibility on campus, Senator Daniel Salup-Cid sponsored the “ERA: Equal Restrooms Access” resolution (S.R. 04 017), alongside co-sponsors, Senate President Kaily LaChapelle and Senator Hua Hui Vogel. 

The “ERA: Equal Restrooms Access” resolution advocates for gender-neutral restrooms, opposes discriminatory policies, and urges cooperation with the university to foster inclusivity and equality for all students.

When PantherNOW contacted Senator Daniel Salup-Cid via email, he highlighted the importance of addressing the issue. “In my view, in order to solve a problem, we must also identify its cause,” said Salup-Cid.

“The policies advocated by the Desantis administration contribute to a hostile environment for queer individuals,” Salup-Cid said in an email to PantherNOW. “HB1521 is one of many measures being taken by Desantis and his allies to make queer existence a living hell.”

The “ERA: Equal Restrooms Access” resolution (S.R. 04 017), was passed by the student government on March 4 at their first senate meeting back from spring break. 

“I am the first trans person to sit in front of you on this dias,” said LaChapelle, adding that these measures can help other students, from LGBTQ+ students to students with religious needs. “Think about how this is intersectional and this will come together to protect many students on this campus.” 

Some senators had concerns about the bill, largely with language specifically aimed at Governor Ron Desantis. 

“I think we’d be better off serving the student population if we toned down a little bit of the direct calling out of the DeSantis administration,” housing senator Alexander Stone said during the senate. 

Ultimately most of the language remained. 

Salup-Cid contextualized the issue within the broader socio-political landscape, citing HB1521 as a significant barrier to transgender and non-binary individuals’ participation in public life. 

 “The policies advocated by the Desantis administration contribute to a hostile environment for queer individuals,” he stated, which he argues necessitates a robust response from the university administration to protect the safety and well-being of its students and faculty.

Students also spoke during the March 4 meeting, sharing why they support the measure. 

“[State law] makes it a criminal misdemeanor for trans people to use the bathroom of their own gender and forces them to use the bathroom of their sex assigned at birth,” said YDSA member Joselyn Pena.

“This will create a safe haven for trans students to use the restroom without having to only go to use the very little number of gender-neutral restrooms we have.” 

The bill is a way to work around state law, with students looking to senators to represent their interests. 

“SGA is an institution with power, both material and symbolic,” Salup-Cid reiterated in his email to PantherNOW. “As the only elected representatives of the student body, we must take a stand against the far-right attacks coming from the DeSantis administration, which includes passing resolutions like SR04017, the Equal Restroom Access (ERA) Resolution.”

PantherNOW staff Elise Gregg contributed to this report. 

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