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Student calls for gender-neutral restrooms

While Student Government Association President Alberto Adame spoke last Tuesday about the difficulties UTRGV community faced going through its transition, math education junior Juan Villela was thinking about the problems his friend faced during her transition.

At the end of Adame’s address, Villela asked when the university will have gender-neutral restrooms.

In an interview after the address, he said his friend was not allowed to enter a women’s restroom on the UT Brownsville campus.

“She’s been taking hormones for years,” Villela said. “She’s been thinking about doing removal of her genitals. I think it’s really unfair she had to use the boys’ restroom. It was really uncomfortable for her. It was really unsafe for her to go to the boys’ restroom. I think [UTRGV] should begin implementing gender-neutral bathrooms, mostly because UT Dallas is already doing it.”

Adame said the situation should be addressed by speaking about it to university administrators.

“Showcasing that there’s a need will provide better services to all students here,” he said. “I think that if we start working on that we can come up with something that can be really great and realistic for students.”

More than 70 students attended the State of the Student Body address, which took place in Brownsville’s Gran Salón.

Among the topics Adame spoke about was the representation of UTRGV in the University of Texas System Student Advisory Council (UTSSAC).

The council consists of two representatives from each UT System institution and was created to address issues of student concern, according to its website.

Kathryn Brough, a public relations and marketing junior, and Adame represented UTRGV at the first UTSSAC meeting of the year Sept. 11-12 in Austin. Brough is also the council’s administrative assistant and is a former UTSSAC representative for UT Pan American.

“We provide advice to the UT System chancellor, William McRaven, and to the board of regents on the matters pertaining to the systemwide student body,” Adame said. “During the weekend, we had the opportunity to hear about concerns around the universities. Really hearing about what other students had to say, about the universities, I found that UTRGV, UTB and UTPA are really great places to be as compared to concerns to those at other universities.”

Adame also spoke about the problems students faced in the transition to UTRGV, such as registration blocks, not enough classes at their respective campuses and financial aid delays.

“We recognized the concerns students had during the transition and are still having,” he said in an interview after the address. “I think they gained information and reassurance that … we’re here for them and represent them very well.”

Gabriela Castorena, an exercise science sophomore, said she liked the address and found it informative.

“I actually thought it was very interesting,” Castorena said. “There was a lot of information. I didn’t even know about this organization, so I just thought it was very useful for me.”

For issues or concerns, students may visit the SGA office in Brownsville, located in Student Union 1.28 and in Edinburg, located in University Center Room 218. Students may also email Adame at sgapresident@utrgv.edu.

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