Before the semester started for Brown University students, a big change was made; Students can now find free tampons and pads in academic building bathrooms for all genders. Students who led the initiative at the Ivy League school argue that the products are a necessity, not a luxury, and therefore should be handed out rather than paid for. While the argument has been made countless times before, many have not given in, but Brown University is changing the game.
The products can be found in women’s, gender inclusive and men’s bathrooms in nonresidential buildings, a move that’s also inclusive of transgender students.
“Why aren’t these products treated the same way as other products we hand out, like toilet paper?” said Viet Nguyen, president of the Undergraduate Council of Students. “It’s a necessity, rather than a luxury, so Brown and other universities should treat them as such.”
Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, elaborated by saying that the university has taken a critical step toward ensuring that feminine hygiene products were accessible to anyone who needed them.
“Feminine hygiene products are not a luxury. They’re as essential as toilet paper, just ask anyone who has ever struggled to obtain or afford them,” she said in a statement. “Students’ participation in school should not be hindered by insufficient access to this basic necessity. Universities around the country should follow suit.”
Several states and cities plan to end their tax on feminine hygiene products and students were “inspired by the conversation.”
Nguyen said he hopes the university will eventually take the reigns on this and provide the products for free.