Starting this winter term, Oregon State University will begin placing free feminine hygiene products in all restrooms on campus.
The decision, which comes as a result of a student-led initiative, aims to fulfill the needs of people that experience menstruation “regardless of gender,” a report from the school’s news site, The Daily Barometer, said.
According to Julian Chu, Queer Affairs Coordinator for the school’s student association, not all students who menstruate are female.
“We are adding these resources to all bathrooms, as not all students who menstruate are female-identified, some may identify as LGBTQIA+, male, other, etc. Those students may not be comfortable entering a specific bathroom if we provided these resources only in a specific bathroom, and would exclude them from receiving these resources,” Chu said.
The College Fix, in its report on the news, notes that Chu is referencing transgender men who identify as male, but are biologically female, and accordingly still get their periods.
Chu also argued that the new initiative will help accommodate students who may not be able to afford feminine hygiene products.
“With the increasing numbers of homelessness and poverty in Corvallis, this will be able to alleviate student’s budgets to other things such as food/groceries, books, gas, rent, etc.,” he added.
According to The Daily Barometer, the school currently has at least 207 gender-inclusive restrooms in 75 buildings on campus. The first buildings to showcase the free feminine hygiene products and waste bins in its restrooms will be the Memorial Union and Student Experience Center. Eventually, all other buildings will follow suit.
This is good, argues student association Vice President Kylie Boenisch, who said access to the products “is not a privilege, it’s a right.”
Rachel Josephson, student association president, suggested that the initiative helps shape a future that the world needs.
“Providing these services to all genders is absolutely necessary in serving the needs of the student body and also to shape an inclusive future students want to see, and that the world needs,” she said.
The installation of new products and dispensers will cost the Memorial Union and Student Experience Center around $2,000, the report noted.
Chu added that the end goal is to have dispensers available in every campus building and have the school paying for all student menstrual products.