Chapman will offer free menstrual products in bathrooms across campus beginning later this month, after the Advisory Group on the Status of Women passed an initiative to replace paid dispensers with stations that stock them for free, Alisa Driscoll, one of the group’s co-chairs, wrote in an email to The Panther.
Sophomore Shelby Seth has found it nearly impossible to locate a pad in those emergency situations when you desperately need one.
“This needs to happen,” said Seth, a political science and strategic and corporate communication major. “There have been so many times where I’ve been in the bathroom and had to makeshift one with toilet paper.”
Chapman will also offer these products in gender-neutral and single-stall restrooms on campus, Driscoll said, based on looking at similar programs at other universities like the UCLA, Columbia University, Brown University and Boston University.
“We hope to be able to provide products to trans individuals in a way in which they won’t have to potentially out themselves in order to secure these important items,” Driscoll said. “Our group plans to meet with Rick (Turner) again later this year to discuss the possibility of adding menstrual products in men’s restrooms as well.”
Erin Pullin, director of diversity and inclusion, said that Rick Turner, the associate vice president of Facilities Management, manages the operations of the facilities department and is partially responsible for ensuring that the new menstrual products are available throughout campus. Turner could not be reached at the time of publication.
Junior English major Maria Harfouche is in favor of free pads and tampons in the bathrooms, but is concerned people will abuse the free service.
“I don’t want someone to take away resources from people who can’t afford it,” Harfouche said. “(Being without a tampon) really puts a damper on your day, because you feel embarrassed.”
Driscoll said that there can be significant consequences that result from affordable menstrual products not being readily available.
“Some individuals may even put their health in danger by extending their use of product beyond recommended durations, increasing the risk of toxic shock syndrome, a serious, a potentially deadly bacterial infection,” Driscoll wrote.
Seth, whose mother experienced toxic shock syndrome at 12 years old, taught Seth to only use pads.
“It’s your choice. I don’t like tampons,” Seth said. “I usually don’t have a quarter for the machine, and in college, most people don’t use pads.”
Facilities Management will be working closely with Aramark, the company responsible for supplying professional custodial services on campus, to ensure the sanitary daily upkeep of the products is being met.
To read an editorial about the free menstrual products, click here.