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Gender-Inclusive Restrooms to Stay at Bloomsburg University

BLOOMSBURG — One day after the president’s announcement withdrawing federal mandates for transgender bathrooms, officials at Bloomsburg University s...

BLOOMSBURG -- One day after the president's announcement withdrawing federal mandates for transgender bathrooms, officials at Bloomsburg University say its policies will not change.

Bloomsburg University has about 40 gender-inclusive restrooms on campus and the university says those are here to stay.

The university has multiple students who identify as either transgender or gender non-binary -- which means inclusive of all genders. University officials say despite President Donald Trump's decision to roll back guidelines that require public schools to allow students to use the bathroom of their choice, Bloomsburg will continue to use gender-inclusive restrooms.

In addition to men's and women's rooms, there are plenty of restrooms at Bloomsburg University labeled as all-gender restrooms and open for anyone.

"We still have the ability to do that for our students to make sure they have a place where they feel comfortable as they continue their studies on campus," said Dione Somerville, vice president for student affairs at Bloomsburg University.

Somerville was disappointed when she heard about President Donald Trump's decision to roll back Obama-era federal guidelines that required public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. Despite the change, she affirms Bloomsburg University will not change its policy unless forced to.

"If the student doesn't feel included as part of their learning environment, they're not going to be able to be good students. And so it's important to us that we have options available for our students so that we can be inclusive," said Somerville.

There are over three dozen gender-neutral bathrooms on Bloomsburg University's campus -- most of them are in public buildings, with a few others in dorms and other private areas.

"Our trans students here on campus, they are continuously working to make sure that they have the rights and the privileges that every other student has," said Malik Muhammad, Bloomsburg University Diversity and Inclusion.

Many students on campus agree with the university's decision.

"I believe everyone should have an equal opportunity to show who they are and I think that Bloomsburg University respects that," said sophomore Colin O'Hara.

"It's a single stall and everyone is in there by themselves and it really shouldn't be an issue to anyone else because it's not like they're disrupting someone when they're going to the bathroom," said sophomore Aly Hilbert.

Newswatch 16 also spoke with the superintendent at Selinsgrove Area School District where there was controversy over gender-inclusive restrooms recently. He said it is too early to make any kind of decision in the matter.