By Runa Lemminn
The design of the women’s locker rooms in the Icardo Center is outdated.
Together there are over 30 players between the women’s basketball and volleyball teams. In the men’s locker room, there are 16 players who have their own lounge area with couches, a computer and a flat screen TV.
The design of the women’s locker room does not feature any of those amenities.
The situation has long been a potential Title IX issue because of the disparities between the women’s and men’s locker rooms.
CSU Bakersfield women’s athletics locker rooms have been in need of remodeling for years.
Now, the changes are on the way.
CSUB is massively renovating the building that houses the locker rooms for both men’s and women’s basketball teams and the volleyball team.
The current locker room facilities will be under construction through the summer of 2018, with the changes complete before the fall seasons commence.
Malayasia McHenry, a junior liberal studies major and women’s basketball power forward, said the locker room is small and uncomfortable for the women.
“I feel like there’s no space, and its really crowded,” said McHenry. “When the women’s basketball and volleyball are in, there’s no room. It’s just really hot and crowded.”
Hasit Panchal, director of facilities planning and construction has acknowledged that there needs to be changes made.”
“There is inefficiency in the current layout, since the design is very old,” said Panchal.
According to Panchal, it took six to eight months to draw up the plans and prepare everything.
Another problem for the women is the condition of their showers and the restrooms.
“The showers are very disgusting. I’ve showered in there one time because I had to,” said Kate Tokuhara, sophomore communications major and guard for the women’s basketball team.
“We don’t even use our own restroom because it’s that disgusting in there. We use the front bathroom in the gym.”
Moataz Aly, a senior liberal studies major who plays center for the men’s basketball team, said the men’s showers are just fine.
“The showers are pretty nice. I always shower there,” Aly said.
According to the NCAA website, Title IX states treatment of female and male students must be equal.
This includes equipment and supplies, locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities and support services.
Title IX is a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity in all educational programs that are funded by federal dollars.
According to the NCAA website, Title IX is enforced by the institution itself.
Compliance is assessed by comparing the men’s and women’s programs in their entirety, not just for one singular sport.
It does not require that both men’s and women’s programs be equal, but rather, meet the interests and abilities of both genders.
Also, no sport is excluded from Title IX.
Possible consequences for violating Title IX are the withholding of federal funds.
Shon Briggs, a senior liberal studies major and forward for the men’s basketball team, said the men do not currently have any of the problems McHenry and Tokuhara mentioned.
“It’s comfortable for us. We have our own lockers and a pretty good space for all of us,” said Briggs.
Aly shared in the sentiment.
“I think ours is pretty good,” Aly said. “We’ve got couches and a TV, and chairs and the lockers are really clean and nice.”
CSUB Title IX Compliance Officer Cindy Goodmon said the women’s locker room situation has been on the minds of those in CSUB athletics for a while.
“We want to be fair, and we want our student athletes to have a good experience while they’re here,” Goodmon said. “We do student-athlete surveys and this locker room situation has been on our hearts and minds for awhile, and we finally gained the approval to move ahead and do some reconstruction, so we’re very excited about that.”
Goodmon said the process toward the actual remodel of the current building is in the final stages.
“We are in the process right now,” Goodmon said. “We have capital improvements that are being done, we have a master plan in athletics now, and part of that master plan is our women’s locker rooms.
“Currently, they are finalizing the plans and they are going to be enhanced after March or April.”
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will have their own locker room, and the women’s volleyball team will have their own locker room as well.
Women’s basketball and volleyball players will share a team room.
Ensuring Title IX compliance, the new plans will give the men and women an identical amount of space.
However, the men’s team may end up with a bigger team room because the two women’s locker rooms take up more space.
The teams will all have central heating and air conditioning, adding to their comfort away from the court.
McHenry said it’s currently never the right temperature in the women’s locker rooms.
In wintertime, the only heat comes from portable space heaters.
“Sometimes it’s too cold in there,” McHenry said.
“They will be knocking out interior walls and the space will be re-configured so there will be a more efficient and modern layout,” said Panchal.
The women’s basketball team is looking forward to the new facilities.
Tokuhara said she thinks it’s about time some changes were made.
“Honestly, I think we deserve our own locker room and we shouldn’t be sharing with volleyball,” said Tokuhara.
McHenry was emotional when she discovered the women’s locker rooms will receive a facelift in the near future, as she feels for the student athletes.
“We deserve an equal amount of things,” said McHenry. “It’s amazing, it’s a blessing, honestly. We need it.”