Baruch should provide free menstrual products in bathrooms


Iraj Zia | The Ticker

Ayse Kelce, Managing Editor

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Oct. 8 that makes it mandatory for California public schools and colleges to provide free menstrual products in bathrooms. In light of this initiative, New York City and CUNY should provide free menstrual products in all school bathrooms.

The Ticker’s editorial board has previously written about how the lack of feminine hygiene products in schools discriminates against women. Unfortunately, Baruch College falls short of providing free menstrual products, especially when considering the limited operating hours of the Health Center and Office of Health and Wellness.

Instead of limiting access to menstrual products to within the office hours of the Health Center or the Office of Health and Wellness, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Mondays to Thursdays, Baruch could stock free menstrual products in bathrooms.

“Our biology doesn’t always send an advanced warning when we’re about to start menstruating, which often means we need to stop whatever we’re doing and deal with a period,” Assemblymember Cristina Garcia of California, sponsor of the Menstrual Equity for All Act 2021, said.

“Just as toilet paper and paper towels are provided in virtually every public bathroom, so should menstrual products,” Garcia added.

Baruch currently only has tampon machines in bathrooms that require a quarter, and some of these machines are broken or not stocked.

Additionally, students who stopped by the Office of Health and Wellness this semester to get menstrual products were disappointed by the fact that the office has not restocked feminine hygiene products since Baruch students first returned to campus.

With the CUNY Board of Trustees approving a tuition increase including $120 in health and wellness fees in 2019, it is unacceptable that students still cannot get free menstrual products on campus.

Students should not be worried about leaving campus or paying for menstrual products, especially when they are paying a considerable fee for their health and wellness.

In July 2020, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams introduced legislation to the New York City Council to expand access to free menstrual hygiene products in CUNY.page1image43753920 page1image43756992

“In 2016, when the Council passed legislation to provide menstrual hygiene products to students in Department of Education buildings, it was a major step forward for menstrual equity,” Williams said.

“This new legislation would build on that progress and other recent developments, such as repealing the pink tax, to lift discriminatory burdens to health and economic equity,” he added.

The legislation was referred to the City Council’s Committee on Health, according to the meeting minutes.

While the discussions and efforts around providing free menstrual hygiene products exist, New York City and CUNY must act on the matter and make those products accessible for every student.

Other states and universities must take California’s initiative as an example and provide free menstrual products for students.