De-gendered Restrooms Attract International Attention

POSTED ON: March 29, 2016

The new non-gendered bathroom signage

Following a decision by Acting President Bill Mea to remove gender-specific signage on all restrooms at The Cooper Union academic buildings, the U.S. edition of The Guardian picked up the story calling it, "a pioneering move." The story comes on the heels of a decision in North Carolina to restrict bathrooms to only those individuals born as the gender designated. “When there’s a gendered space, there’s a sense of ownership to that space,” Bill Mea is quoted as saying in The Guardian. "When people see someone who they think doesn’t belong there, it can create stress for everyone. So we thought, let’s just take that away."

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.