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New group forms to make campus bathrooms more accessible 

MOORHEAD — A new initiative, prompted by Assistant Director of Student Engagement, Elijah Amelse, aims to update the bathrooms in the Maize in order to be gender neutral and attach a water fixture to assist in prayer.  

The idea for this project began in 2018 when Amelse first took notice of the lack of gender neutral bathrooms in the campus center.  

“What does that say about our values?” Amelse said. 

On Concordia’s website the school claims that “Concordia will affirm a diversity of identities, experiences, and perspectives as a condition of institutional excellence.”  

However, there are currently no gender neutral bathrooms in Knutson Campus Center.  

A previous Concordian story helps to detail the extent of the problem.  

“We have eight bathrooms in this building, and none of them are gender neutral, or agender, or all gender, they’re all male or female bathrooms,” Amelse said in Oct. of 2022.   

In order to address this issue, a meeting was held on Friday, Feb. 23, to get a group in order and discuss plans for a bathroom in Old Main. 

Iqra Hassan, a second year student who is Muslim, attended the meeting in part due to her interest in the possible addition of the prayer fixture.  

“Before we pray you have to do a washing ritual, where you wash your hands, your face, and mouth three times,” Hassan said. 

This ritual is commonly referred to as “wudu,” and it must be done before each of their daily prayers. 

“We pray five times a day, three times during school hours,” Hassan said. 

She stressed the inconvenience for Muslim students who have to have to use public sinks to perform wudu and she explained that it can be “awkward.” 

In addition to Muslim students, Amelse brought up the fact that gender neutral bathrooms can be more comfortable for trans and nonbinary students.  

In the 2022 article, senior Hannah Knudson discussed how having a gender neutral bathroom can be validating. 

“My freshman and sophomore years, I was in Park Region, which has awesome gender-neutral bathrooms, very accessible, and that was my first experience of having them accessible in any format. It made me feel more comfortable than being in the gendered bathrooms,” Knudson said. 

Moving forward, a plan for this project was approved by the Projects Committee in Jan. of 2023, however there was not enough funding at the time. The total cost of the remodel has been estimated to be around $30,000. 

Amelse explained at the Friday meeting that the project could potentially be funded by the Special Projects and Initiatives Fund (SPIF), through the Student Government Association (SGA). 

The request would need to be made by a full-time student and a presentation will need to be made at an SGA senate meeting in order to apply for funding, the next of which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 29.  

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