Thursday, September 16, 2021

ASMSU passes bill calling for free period products in all on-campus restrooms

June 25, 2021
<p>Free tampons and maxi pads are available in a Biochemistry Department bathroom at MSU. Photographed on January 29, 2020.</p>

Free tampons and maxi pads are available in a Biochemistry Department bathroom at MSU. Photographed on January 29, 2020.

Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, passed a bill Thursday night calling on MSU administration and MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities to provide free menstrual hygiene products in all restrooms on campus. The bill was passed unanimously.

“Currently students on campus do not have free access to pads and tampons, which are critical and necessary hygiene products,” General Assembly Rep. for the College of Natural Science Cynthia Sridhar said. “Many colleges and universities nationwide have already implemented policies or have at least started some sort of pilot program that would provide free menstrual products to their students, and I strongly believe that advocating for this will benefit many on campus." 

A list of these colleges and universities appear in the bill, and include multiple Ivy League universities, as well as several universities in Michigan, including Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, and Concordia College.

“We believe that these products should be easily available to students when other products like toilet paper or hand soap are accessible in all restrooms,” General Assembly Rep. for the College of Engineering Ishwari Kapale said. “The onset of menstruation is unpredictable, and research highlights the fact that a large percentage of the population finds these products unaffordable, and poor menstrual hygiene can result in serious health risks."

Kapale said that the bill advocates for the placement of free menstrual hygiene products in all restrooms because current menstrual hygiene dispensers are not functional, cost money or are only placed in women’s restrooms. 

“We understand that transgender people, nonbinary people, gender-nonconforming people, women, and others all have the ability to menstruate but are not given the same access to these products in the restrooms that coincide with their gender,” Kapale said.

ASMSU’S Alliance for Queer and Allied Students Rep. Cameron Lochrie also spoke, thanking the bill writers for the inclusion and centering of transgender issues in the bill.

“Trans people are more likely to have some societal issues that would prevent them from having access to period products,” Lochrie said. "We need period products in every single bathroom on campus, not just (women's) bathrooms."

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