“It’s really hurtful knowing the UNC administration — whoever those people are in an office somewhere — could take all that student passion away silently one morning before class,” Campus Y member Kaitlin Harlow said.
Campus Y co-president Regan Buchanan said all gender identities and expressions are still welcomed at the Campus Y.
“I think people will look at the new signs and think they look similar because you can still use the bathroom whether you’re male or female in accordance to the new signs, but it blatantly excludes people that don’t conform to gender binaries,” Buchanan said.
“Our old signs didn’t do that. They were inclusive of all gender identities and expressions.”
The University announced last spring they would add more gender-neutral single-stall restrooms. The gender-neutral signs were to be installed over the summer.
There are currently 158 facilities with gender-neutral bathrooms across campus, according to a UNC map.
“Campus Y is a safe place for queer folks on campus, represented in a signage, so to tear down the signs we’ve made is an attack on this space and what it represents,” said senior Griffin Unger.
Buchanan said the signs were removed without notice.
“It’s something about how they don’t comply with (American Disabilities Act), but I don’t think this is what it really is about,” she said.
“I feel that if they were doing this out of the interest of the Americans with Disabilities Act that they would have taken the signs down in 2013 when the signs were put up.”
Brennan Lewis, a board member of Sexuality and Gender Alliance, said the University’s effort to remove the signs was surprising.
“It’s framed in a way where UNC looks like they’re saying either trans people don’t exist or trans people don’t have our support,” Lewis said. “It makes me feel like I don’t have safe spaces on campus and don’t have the support of the University.”
Members of the Campus Y feel the University removed the signs unexpectedly.
“If we as a student organization acted in a similar manner, we would be under extraordinary reprimand. We get frustrated with a lot of stuff on campus and we aren’t allowed to take radical steps like that,” sophomore Kaitlin Galindo said.
“The University isn’t holding themselves to the same standard they hold people who question them.”