For a college student, having a period means one more expense to prioritize over going out and ordering late night pizza. And not only is it expensive—it’s just really freaking annoying to stealthily slip a tampon in your sleeve and sneak out when you have a *code red* in the middle of class. Brown University understands the struggle, though, and has decided to stock all non-residential campus bathrooms with free tampons and pads.
In a press release, Undergraduate Council President Viet Nguyen explained his reasoning, saying “Tampons and pads are not luxuries, but necessities, and should be treated as such.”
“Why aren’t these products treated the same way as other products we hand out, like toilet paper?” Nguyen told the Guardian. Honestly, yes—preach.
This change comes in the wake of debate over the luxury tax on tampons. Because yes, period products are taxed as if they’re something special that you could choose to go without—which obviously isn’t true. Making pads and tampons free in public bathrooms is a great step toward recognizing that people shouldn’t have to pay an exorbitant amount for a monthly bodily function that they can’t control. As UCS Chief of Staff Molly Naylor-Komyatte said in an interview with the Brown Daily Herald, “In the most immediate sense, it makes some people’s lives a little bit easier and alleviates some concern that they might have had otherwise.”
The pads and tampons will be in men’s restrooms as well as women’s to accomodate the those who might identify as male but have periods.
Known for being a liberal university, it’s no surprise Brown was one of the first to implement this kind of an open-minded program. At the same time, liberal or conservative, can’t we all (or at least 50 percent of the population) relate to the pain and suffering of periods?
Nguyen thinks so, and encouraged other schools to follow Brown’s lead and start a larger movement. “We hope that this step, making Brown one of the first institutions in higher education to implement such a program at this scale, will motivate other universities and student governments to take similar actions to address this issue of equity,” he wrote in the press release.
Fingers crossed this means there will soon be free tampons for every college student who needs them, making periods that much easier.