Office of the President

November 20, 2012

The UW has some of the best staff in the world

University of Washington

At the UW, not all of the creative solutions to contemporary challenges come from our faculty. We also have some of the best staff in the world.

Recently, a good example of what our staff does came to my attention. Many schools have had agonizing struggles to decide which intramural locker rooms, male or female, are to be used by transgender students.Here, though, John Pariseau, our Director of Recreational Sports Programs, saw the question coming and worked out a thoughtful, innovative answer.  (Seattle Weekly blog)

First, John started by defining this not as a “problem” but as an opportunity to help make part of our community feel more comfortable.  Then, rather than forcing such students to make a difficult either/or decision, he pursued his idea for a “universal shower-dressing room” to be used by transgender students and others, giving them the privacy of traditional male and female facilities without unnecessary complications. John coordinated the planning for this locker room with the UW’s Q Center and now it is almost ready to open.

I love seeing this kind of flexible thinking and the application of both imagination and common sense. Thank you, John, for helping make the UW a better institution for our entire community.

Mike Young