NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Ahead of Yale’s commencement ceremony on Monday, the university announced the opening of more than 300 “gender neutral” restrooms for use on campus.
The Yale Office of LGBTQ Resources posted an interactive map on the university website to provide directions to the various locations on campus.
“Yale aims to be a leader on this front,” Tamar Gendler, dean of Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences told the Associated Press. “Part of what is important about the all-gender bathroom project and about putting it at the top of our commencement site, is this is about public signaling.”
As previously reported, in 2013, the university announced that it was considering including sex change operations in Yale’s student insurance policy, and later approved the move. The school also now accommodates students’ requests to be referred to by their preferred pronouns, and includes their preferred name rather than their birth name on their diploma.
Yale also made headlines for presenting a four-day workshop called “Sex Weekend.” During one workshop, some students admitted experimenting with masochism or bestiality.
“People do engage in some of these activities that we believe only, for example, perverts engage in,” said event organizer Guilana Berry. “What the goal is, is to increase compassion for people who may engage in activities that are not what you would personally consider normal.”
Students also had an opportunity to submit discussion topics anonymously. According to a report in the Yale Daily News, a number of submissions related to “sexual fantasies involving family members.”
“At first, yes, the fact that so many people brought it up surprised me, but then I thought it might be more of a psychological thing we might all have,” said student Alex Saeedy. “I think that’s what the point of the workshop was — to bring up things we thought were so taboo, and desires or urges we criticize are just regular parts of sexual psychology.”
But other students decried the event, stating that the university should be ashamed that such material was being presented on campus.
Yale, like a number of historic universities, has Christian roots. Carrying the motto “Light and Truth,” Yale was founded as a college to train ministers and political leaders. A group of ten local pastors joined together to fill the university’s library, and Pastor Ezra Stiles, one of the school’s early presidents, required all freshmen to study Hebrew, so that they could read the Old Testament in its original language.
“All scholars shall live religious, godly and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s word, diligently reading the Scriptures…” read the requirements for students in 1745.
Jonathan Edwards, known for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” went to Yale at age 13 and was ordained for the ministry in 1727.
Today, Yale Law School is considered one of the most prestigious legal institutions in the nation.