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Women's Caucus

Bathroom Signs

Every women's and Gender Inclusive (aka all-gender or unisex) bathroom on the main campus (except in Centen) should have an acrylic holder by the sinks, paper towel dispensers or the door specifically for announcing Women's Caucus events. Each holder should also have a little label that directs you to this website (if either the holder, or its label is missing, please let Heather know)

As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention. The foremothers of the ESF Women's Caucus realized that quite a few staff and grad students spend the bulk of the day, every day, in their individual offices or labs, unless they, like their undergrads, were rushing between classes and meetings. Something would need to be on every bulletin board on campus for every woman to have an opportunity to see one (assuming it hasn't already been covered by some other flier). However, it was a safe bet that each of these individuals would visit a lavatory sooner or later. So, by placing more strategically, they could reach the target audience with only a handful of fliers.

Fliers were taped to walls, and then affixed to stall doors with magnets, until we came to an agreement in 2003 with Connie Webb, former VP of Administration and Director of Physical Plant. To prevent the tape residue and water splashed fliers that really weren't fair to those that try hard to keep those areas clean, we purchased 20 holders (1 for each restroom) which she arranged to be installed. Additional holders have been added as more bathrooms (and lactation rooms) came on line through renovations or conversion to women's or all-gender restrooms.  Fliers stay up, and stay looking nice, much longer now, so we can announce multiple events on single fliers, saving us more time and paper. In a world with push notifications for everything and information overload via every device, simple signs seem to be effective reminders.

We respectfully ask that if you see something of interest, you jot it down (or take a picture of it) rather than taking the flier.

If you have an upcoming event or an ongoing program that are consistent with the mission, please contact Heather about sharing space on the fliers. If there are not upcoming (including recurring) events, others are welcome to use the holders.

ESF had a dearth of female faculty and low percentages of women students while most of our buildings were under construction and built to the codes of those times. Therefore, while the number of women, including transwomen, have increased exponentially, the number of "water closets" available to them have only increased with new construction (Jahn, Gateway, Centennial Hall) or significant renovations (Moon in 90s, Baker more recently). Single-stall women's rooms were carved out of men's rooms in Marshall and Bray ca 90s. Illick and Marshall in particular house academic departments with near gender parity, but very few stalls to accommodate the large numbers of users until their next renovations, and therefore bathroom breaks might take a while to accommodate the whole line, or allow users to visit facilities on other floors or in neighboring buildings. (We supported Academic Governance's Resolution on Bathroom Equity on ESF's main campus and appreciate the conversion of some men's rooms to women's rooms, and redesignation of most single stall facilities to "all gender" ones, as well as ongoing work to add more gender inclusive and accessible facilities). Read more about those redesignation.

A private signholder checklist was revised and periodically updated to include not only the locations of each bathroom, but any "amenities" of those spaces like single stall, assistive doors, changing table (only one, in the basement of Gateway Center), or a shower, as well as lines for lactation rooms, not because we intend to refer anyone to those spaces to pump (Never, ever send a mom to a bathroom to nurse!) but because we still use the directory as a checklist as fliers are replaced.

Field Labs/Experiences/Trips

Quite a few ESF labs occur out-of-doors. Please build in "bathroom" stops on your routes. Choose areas with adequate non-poisonous vegetation to allow some modesty screening for participants to relieve themselves. Please note that if anatomy and necessary biological function do not allow simply turning one's back for this, the farther away someone might need to go before finding dense enough screening to even begin their business, and the longer it will take to sufficiently dis- and re-robe. Some individuals may also need breaks to change sanitary supplies or express breastmilk, especially if a trip is longer than usual.

Therefore, before the group continues, please confirm that everyone has returned to a central spot. Under heat and/or exertion, additional stops may be warranted as everyone should be drinking more.

Failure to take bathroom or pumping breaks often leads to serious health ramifications (bladder distention or infection; dehydration; engorgement or mastitis; Toxic Shock Syndrome)--and students (or others on the down-side of a power differential) tend to chose these avoidable issues over the embarrassment of repeatedly requesting accommodations.

Advice for those with children or caring for other family members

Balancing work and family is not a “women’s issue”, but a  universal workplace challenge, with potential impact on retention, equity and quality of work life and on student recruitment and graduation rates.  Limiting only to this page means that some individuals in need of that guidance might not find it, and can inadvertantly reinforce outdated gender norms.  So, for subscription instructions to the FamilyResources listserv or information about child care, eldercare,  family leaves,  lactation rooms,  requesting an extension to your P&T timeline or a caregiver/research travel grant, or other items that help students and employees study and work while also caring for their families visit the Family Resource page.  

Looking to help your advisees, colleagues, or to questions posed to you by prospective students or employees? Also visit Family Resources.

Family Resources

Potluck Supper

ESF main campus in Syracuse is a quiet small but sometimes it seems like there are miles between different departments. It would be nice to know people in every building and put faces to the names that we have only seen on email signatures. The summaries of these meetings are shared electronically, so that everyone will be able to see the highlights even if they cannot attend the meeting in person. It is also quite nice when we can coordinate ways for those at our remote campuses (especially the Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb, NY, and the NYS Ranger School, in Wanakena, NY) to visit or participate electronically.

If you can't/didn't have time to cook or pick something up, bring a few dollars. We will arrange for take-out or delivery from a local restaurant. This practice started in the early years of the Caucus, when several people found themselves huddled around a vending machine looking for potential items at the last minute. They opted to pool their funds and order a pizza. If you know of quick, tasty, inexpensive places that can accommodate some dietary restrictions, please send your recommendations our way!