Student Sues Green Mountain College Over Co-Ed Bathrooms

Jennifer Weiler, 19, of Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont has filed a lawsuit contesting the use of co-ed bathrooms at the school. The lawsuit names the Department of Public Safety and notes such things as flimsy curtains as shower doors and men using toilets without closing the door.

Co-ed bathrooms are common in Europe and other countries. In this case, the college appears to have yielded to Weiler in designating the bathroom on her floor for females, but she says the men still use the bathroom.

What is interesting about this suit is that this is a private school and the agency is being sued for a failure to enforce the code.

The college used to be all-female but switched to co-ed years ago.

The lawsuit demands enforcement of the International Building Code and International Plumbing Code, which applies in Vermont and requires separate restroom facilities.

For the full story, click here.

7 thoughts on “Student Sues Green Mountain College Over Co-Ed Bathrooms

  1. What is interesting about this suit is that this is a private school and the agency is being sued for a failure to enforce the code.

    Are you sure that a Private school can be successfully sued for this “failure to enforce the code?” I know that if they take Federal Funds such as students loans they have a whole host of other issues to contend with. But they do not have to adhere to any admission policy’s. And yet still get tax exempt status even if they have discriminatory admission practices.

  2. From the Green Mountain College Web site:”Today’s graduates need to be flexible and creative problem solvers. They need a sophisticated understanding of how systems work together. They need to be comfortable synthesizing ideas.”

    Without knowing anything about Ms.Weiler, other than the news story above, it seems that she is not Green Mountain College material.

    I would suggest to her, she drop the law suit and transfer to a college or university where she will feel more comfortable.

  3. Actually, her suit against the local building officials makes sense. Most US building codes, including the IBC(*), require that based on the use of the space/building and it’s occupancy rating, certain physical facilities be provided – one restroom with a minimum number of urinals, water closets and lavatories (thus, a “mens room”) and a second restroom with a minimum number of water closets and lavatories (a “womens room”). I guess the problem with her suit could be that while the code requires these physical elements be provided, building codes don’t tell anyone that they can’t go into/use a certain room based on their sex, or that a building’s owner/manager has to enforce that sex segregation.

    (The “International Building Code” isn’t terribly “international.” It is nothing like the building codes in other “first world” countries like Germany or Japan. It’s the descendent of the “BOCA” model code (From the Building Officials and Code Administrators, which has morphed into the International Code Council. Maybe the IBC has been adopted in some places in Canada – I guess that would make it “international”. Also, I think that US contractors building US government funded projects overseas (oh, like, bases in Iraq) may nominally have to use the IBC as the basis for their construction. I seem to remember something about Americans being electrocuted in showers in buildings in Iraq that were built by US contractors but (obviously!) didn’t meet code.

    To make this tangent worthwhile, here’s my gripe. The business model for these “model codes” is that a town can pass an ordinance adopting the model code as the municipality’s building code. As far as I know, there’s no cost to the town to do that. The model code organization then makes its money by selling copyrighted copies of the code books to the folks who own or build buildings there. Thus, the model code becomes the “law of the land” but in order to actually read it, you need access to their copyrighted text. The town can’t publish the code, nor can citizens “share” large portions of the text, except under fair use, such as specific commentary. Not citizen friendly.)

  4. In a letter to Moreau dated Nov. 23, John Wood, director of the Division of Fire Safety in the DPS, said the division had no code-enforcement jurisdiction over existing, unchanged buildings at Green Mountain College. While protection of public health could be a basis for intervention, “co-ed bathrooms do not constitute a health hazard.,” he said.

    From the Article above and the posting from Mr. Coburn. Maybe the suit needs to be amended to include the college….

  5. I am a student at Green Mountain College and I live on the floor with the bathroom in question. It is labeled women, but no one pays attention to it because it is ridiculous. If this idiotic girl had such a huge problem with a co-ed bathroom, she could have just moved to one of the various all girls floors, there is even an all girls floor in the same building. Suing the state is a waste of time and resources and only makes her look like a sophomoric child.

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