The University of California, Berkeley announced that it would charge millions in student fees to construct a "gender-inclusive locker room," in a move described as "reducing the barriers to wellness for often marginalized student and campus communities including trans and non-gender binary students."
The 4,500 square-foot locker room, located in Berkeley's Recreational Sports Facility (RSF), will include private changing rooms, showers, lockers, and bathroom stalls. Berkeley will fund the project to the tune of about $2.7 million of student fees and is expected to open the facility in 2018, according to the Daily Californian.
A university administrative committee approved the project in April, allocating funds from a student fee that was created in 2015 to address mental health and help minority students.
Former student government president Will Morrow pushed for the gender-neutral locker room after students voted "decisively" to establish the Wellness Initiative Fee of $154 per semester, Campus Reform noted.
Given Berkeley’s total undergraduate enrollment of 27,496, students at the elite institution are paying a collective $4,234,384 per semester ($8,468,768 per year) on the Wellness Initiative Fee alone—enough to cover the average cost of tuition for 249 students or pay off the average student-loan debt of 396 graduates.
Morrow reportedly suggested the locker room was a way of affirming inclusion for trans students.
"This locker room project not only symbolically affirms our campus values of inclusivity and access for all, but it provides a tangible service for students who are currently being underserved. At the core of this project is a commitment to student holistic wellness—physical, mental, and emotional. In providing a safe and inclusive changing space, the RSF is adapting to better serve the wellness of all members of our campus community," Morrow said in a Berkeley press release.
Berkeley described the locker room as a space for students with disabilities as well.
The university has installed "non-gendered changing rooms and showers" before, for its Stadium Fitness Center constructed in 2014.