On Tuesday, January 17, College Council (CC) members unanimously approved a resolution to provide free tampons and sanitary pads in the bathrooms at the Reynolds Club. This is a trial program meant to last through winter quarter.
The resolution was drafted by Sat Gupta, a Class of 2020 representative majoring in public policy. Gupta obtained permission from the Reynolds Club facilities managers to kick-start the free tampons program at their site. The program will provide free tampons and sanitary pads in both men’s and women’s bathrooms at Reynolds.
A total of 250 tampons and 230 sanitary pads will be provided, at a total cost of less than $100.
Gupta presented this program as a trial run, which he thinks will demonstrate to the University a substantial demand for these products among the student body. The eventual goal of the resolution is to expand this program to cover all bathrooms on campus.
Two amendments to the resolution were approved during the meeting. The first calls for a report on user-statistics and overall performance of the program by the end of the winter quarter. The second calls for placing additional waste bins in men’s bathroom stalls. The second amendment was added after a CC representative noted the common practice of providing waste bins in all women’s bathroom stalls.
Gupta expects the tampons to be placed in bathrooms in around a week. The program will be promoted primarily through social media. He suggested that there may also be signs on campus to announce the program.
The tampon initiative was one of four main proposals outlined in Gupta’s CC campaign platform. When he spoke with The Maroon this past October, he argued, “If houses can provide free condoms, then the University can provide free menstrual health items. Period.”
The call for providing free tampons and sanitary pads on campus is common in colleges throughout the United States. Brown and Emory, for example, have already implemented similar initiatives. If a referendum calling for free pads and tampons were to be conducted in the college only, proponents would need 299 signatures (5% of the college). If a referendum were to be conducted university wide, proponents would need to collect 732 signatures (5% of the student association).
Correction on Jan. 20, 2017, 10:41 a.m. CST:
A previous version of this article stated that a referendum had already been conducted. However, the referendum was posed as a hypothetical during the meeting. This article's sub-headline originally incorrectly said that the tampons would only be distributed in women's restrooms in Reynolds Club.