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Colleges Consider Free Tampons

Jules Struck ’19, News Editor

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A movement to make feminine hygiene products free to all that has been taken up by Brown University has garnered some support at Dickinson College.

In September, the Undergraduate Council of Students at Brown University began the first of their weekly rounds around campus to stock academic building bathrooms with free feminine hygiene products, according to Katie Mettler of The Washington Post. 

The student-run effort to place free tampons and sanitary napkins in both men’s and women’s bathrooms on campus is both a move to become more inclusive to transgender students, and to make it possible for all students to have access to these items. “In the long term, we are optimistic that this program will be institutionalized,” said the council in a Sept. 6 Facebook post announcing their plans.

Some Dickinson students are in favor of bringing this change to Dickinson’s campus. “I think it’s about damn time that a university has decided that women’s fundamental necessities, like tampons, should be free and easily accessible,” said Mary Martin ’17. As of Nov. 10, a box of 18 Tampax Pearl tampons in the Devil’s Den comes to $8.19.

Some students feel that the availability of free condoms on Dickinson’s campus but not free tampons presents a double standard. “If the school can provide condoms, which are super expensive, then they should be able to provide feminine hygiene products,” argues Mackenzie Skerritt ’18.

“It seems like a good idea,” agrees Austin Lipscomb ’19, “considering it might not be easy for everyone to get [these products].”

Donna Bickford from Dickinson’s Student Life feels Brown University’s actions are admirable. “Brown’s decision to make feminine hygiene products freely available is commendable. I think many colleges and universities, including Dickinson, would be interested in exploring this possibility in the future.”

“I think it would be a fantastic thing for the women and gender resource center to look into,” says Jillian Clark ’19. “We’ve gotten to a point in our collective understanding of women’s health where it’s no longer logical to call female hygiene products ‘luxury items.’ It’s just common sense, and I have no doubt that eventually most campuses will provide free hygiene products for the students that need them… they can put them right by the free condoms.”

Other students, like Maia Baker ’19 feel the same way. “You don’t have to pay 25 cents for toilet paper, so you shouldn’t have to pay for hygiene on your period,” she said. “It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

Emily Padalino ’20, staff writer, contributed to the reporting on this article.

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Colleges Consider Free Tampons