An Inclusive Litany

6/12/02

Jean King, an attorney in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a Title IX gender equity complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging that the University of Michigan should increase the number of women's bathrooms in its $38 million renovation for Hill Auditorium. Current plans call for increasing the number of restrooms from 10 to 30, but King says that since the number of men's restrooms will increase from 14 to 22, the number of women's restrooms should be increased to 44, or double the number of men's facilities.

Architects and university officials say the number of restrooms complies with state building and plumbing codes, and that the demand for restrooms would be lower because the total capacity of the hall had been decreased from 4,169 to 3,710 seats. King, who says she has waited in long rest-room lines at Hill in the past, cites the alternative 2-to-1 ratio recognized as a standard by the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, the American Society of Theatre Consultants, and several states.

"Code be damned, they're building in for another 89 years an out-of-date plumbing standard which is widely recognized as obsolete," said King. "They are looking at the code, not the need. Our daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters will no doubt still be waiting in line at Hill past the end of the intermission."

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