College Students are Calling for Free Tampons in University Bathrooms

As college students continue to exercise their right to free speech and protest, they're pushing for increased, free access to menstrual products at school.

According to the Huffington Post, many student groups at the University of Arizona wrote a letter to their school’s administration asking for the plights of “marginalized” groups to be recognized. Among the list of demands: “All restrooms should include small trashcans in all stalls, free tampons, and free menstrual pads.”

There have been similar calls to action at Columbia and Emory University, with students asking for tampon dispensers on campus. Columbia, at least, now provides free tampons in the student health center. According to Inside Higher Ed, last November, several legislators from Wisconsin, California and New York have introduced bills calling for easier access to feminine hygiene products.

The call for better access to menstruation products comes in conjunction with arguments over the fact that it's easier to get contraceptives on campus than any period products—a comparison addressed by Barnard student, Courtney Couillard, in a February op-ed. She wrote: "Sure, I can easily find a free condom on Barnard and Columbia's campuses, but why can't I find a free tampon in the bathrooms? Why does the administration care about my sexual protective rights, but not how I handle my monthly menstrual cycle?" It's a good question—and one schools need to address. Sex has become less stigmatized, but menstruation is still considered gross and taboo, even as women shell out hundreds of dollars a year for pads and tampons. Those products are not optional, and society needs to stop pushing periods into the shadows and actually do something about this.