University Politics

Student Association to launch free hygiene products this week

Delaney Kuric | Head Illustrator

Ten Tampax Tampons and 10 Maxithins pads will be placed in every women’s and gender neutral bathroom in Schine Student Center, E.S. Bird Library, Life Sciences Complex, Huntington Beard Crouse Hall and the Hall of Languages. Five tampons and five pads will be in the men’s restrooms.

Since this past summer, Keelan Erhard, the co-chair of student life for the Student Association, has wanted to make menstrual hygiene products available for students at no cost.

After hearing from a friend who attends John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, that these products were available for free, Erhard said there was no reason the same couldn’t take place at Syracuse University.

Erhard brought the initiative to SA and has since been working to make the products available at SU. The products will be available starting this Friday in five locations around main campus: Schine Student Center, E.S. Bird Library, Life Sciences Complex, Huntington Beard Crouse Hall and the Hall of Languages.

There will be 10 Tampax Tampons and 10 Maxithins pads in every women’s and gender neutral bathroom in those five academic buildings, and five tampons and five pads in the men’s restrooms, Erhard said. The products will be distributed and restocked by “a group of volunteers” every Friday, he added.

All of the tampons and pads have been provided and paid for by SA, within the organization’s student advancement budget, making them free to students. The initiative will start out with a budget of $1,000, Erhard said.

The availability of menstrual hygiene products has been of interest at several universities across the United States in the past few months. Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, made menstrual hygiene products available in academic bathrooms this past September.

In addition, the Student Assembly at Cornell University, an SU peer institution, passed a referendum with 78.6 percent of the vote in September to make menstrual hygiene products free to students.

Erhard said he hopes the products will be available at all academic buildings on campus and by next semester at all non-residential buildings as the program moves forward.

“While that is certainly not a guarantee by any means, I do think that it should be something that the university and Physical Plant look into,” Erhard said.

With the introduction of the initiative, Erhard said it is important to note that it can be a sensitive issue for the students on campus. He said phrases such as “feminine” products or “feminine hygiene” are two examples that are not inclusive to the whole campus community.

“Both trans(gender) men and cis(gender) women menstruate,” he said. “We should not try to gender menstrual products so that we are inclusive of everyone who uses them.”

There will be a presentation during the SA meeting by the co-chairs of the Student Life committee during this week’s meeting, which will take place on Tuesday rather than Monday because of Halloween. This meeting will include an update on the hygiene product launch as well as other initiatives, said Anjani Ladhar, co-chair of the student life committee.

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