Luca Maurer, director of the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services at Ithaca College, asked the Student Governance Council (SGC) about what can be done to ensure free menstrual products are distributed in every bathroom on campus at its Oct. 28 meeting.
Maurer told the SGC that it wold be beneficial for the campus community if menstrual products were to be distributed not just in women’s bathrooms but in every bathroom. In Fall 2018, the Office of Facilities conducted a pilot program in which free menstrual products were provided in women’s and gender–neutral bathrooms and also in the Hammond Health Center.
“Somebody just approached me earlier this afternoon around the menstrual products in restrooms,” Maurer said. “Someone said they’re available everywhere. Then I went to the restroom, and I was like, ‘Well I’m in a restroom, and I don’t see them.’”
Senior SGC President Farwa Shakeel said she knows a menstrual products bill was passed by the SGC but does not know if products are actually provided in all campus bathrooms. In Fall 2017, the SGC passed the Menstrual Products Bill, which proposed to include pads and tampons in all bathrooms on campus free of charge, including men’s bathrooms, to be more inclusive.
“A couple of years ago, there was a menstruation products bill that came through SGC,” Shakeel said. “I’m pretty sure there was a provision in that bill to have menstrual products available in all bathrooms, but I don’t know that institutionally that has been going on. I know that they are definitely available in most women’s bathrooms, but I can’t say the same for others.”
Tim Carey, associate vice president in the Office of Facilities, said via email that there are approximately 75 dispensers that provide free menstrual products on campus. He said they are located in every women’s bathroom in the academic and administrative buildings.
In Fall 2018, the college’s chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action started a campaign for free menstrual products to be supplied in campus bathrooms. A tenet of Planned Parenthood Generation Action’s campaign included providing menstrual products in gender-neutral bathrooms.
Senior Olivia Forker, president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action, said via email that the group is working with the Office of Facilities and the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services so the free menstrual products are made available in men’s and all gender-neutral restrooms on campus.
“Students can expect additions to the pilot program to be made soon, and they are encouraged to look for more information about sustainability, accessibility and new dispensing of products across campus this fall and spring,” Forker said.
Correction: a previous version of this article stated that Maurer asked the SGC to create a bill allowing for free menstrual products to be distributed in every bathroom on campus. He did not. The article has been changed to reflect this.