Coed Bathrooms Given Test in Risley

Cornell Daily Sun, Sept. 8, 1975

by Edward Gunts

In 1970, Risley Hall became Cornell’s first coed dorm. Five years later, it became the first dorm to experiment with coed bathrooms. Six of the ten coed corridors in Risley agreed to make their bathrooms unofficially coed.

"Each bathroom in Risley is technically designated 'male only' or 'female only.' But there is only one bathroom on each corridor and most of the residents prefer to use the bathrooms closest to their rooms," said Duo A. Dickinson '77, a resident advisor at Risley.

Several residents who wanted to remain anonymous said that they objected to the lack of privacy and the lack of time to adjust to the situation. They also said that they felt that they should not be forced to accept the situation since they did not know about the coed bathrooms when they signed room contracts. However, neither the University Ombudsman nor the department of student housing received any complaints.

"The majority of residents seem to like the arrangement," said Helen C. Marts '78, a resident advisor. "It brings the residents closer, makes them all one big family."

"I am against coed bathrooms because there are people who are uncomfortable with them, even though they may suppress those feelings," said Ruth W. Darling, associate dean of students, "and I don’t believe it is the role of the University to put people in these situations."

"I don’t think this is what college is all about," she said. "There are enough problems for students to worry about in this University than where they are going to go to the bathroom."

Article List.