Students advocate free feminine products

Students complain that many of the tampon and pad machines on campus are usually empty, like this machine in a women’s restroom in Castellaw. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Lindsey McLemore | Reporter

“There were no tampons or pads in the restroom, so I had to use rolled-up toilet paper.” It’s an unpleasant expression spoken by Baylor women across campus every day, but that’s the reality of the unavailability of feminine hygiene products on campus.

Thousand Oaks, Calif., senior Raquel Katch created a petition in favor of free emergency tampons and pads in every non-residential restroom on campus to present to student government in coming weeks.

“Each [on-campus] restroom should have a fully functional distribution machine stocked with both pads and tampons freely available to those in need of one,” Katch stated in her petition.

Trenton D. Garza, a Baylor alumnus from Bushland, considers feminine hygiene products to be a necessity and actively supports the petition on social media.

“Students have access to other free hygiene products because it promotes good health practices,” Garza said. “It just makes sense to make feminine hygiene products available to those who need them.”

Fort Worth junior Julieth Reyes agrees.

“I think tampons and pads should be treated like any other hygienic product,” Reyes said. “I look at it as if I were being asked to pay for toilet paper or soap.”

The petition argues that making feminine hygiene products publicly available at all is an issue of health and hygiene.

“Women ought to have access to free hygiene products because of the same reason we all have access to free soap and water and drying units,” Garza said. “At the end of the day, it supports good health practices.”

Baylor would not be the first to make feminine products freely available on campus. In fact, doing so is a growing trend among educational institutions.

New York public schools now provide free tampons and pads in all schools serving women aged 11-18, and the Brown University Council of Students voted to make tampons and pads freely available in all on-campus restrooms last month, according to The Washington Post.

“More than half of the student body would benefit from feminine hygiene products being made a freely available resource,” Garza said. “It just makes sense. Menstruation doesn’t need to be some taboo topic. It’s healthy and natural.”

Katch was unavailable for comment due to Student Government bylaws.