Oregon State University should offer free period products on campus – The Daily Barometer

Jess Hume-Pantuso, photographer

Maya Sonpatki, accessibility and wellness coordinator at Associated Students of Oregon State University, poses for a photo at the Memorial Union on January 23. Sonpatki is trying to encourage the OSU administration to advance Oregon’s menstrual dignity law at the university.

After delayed compliance with the Menstrual Dignity Act, Oregon State University will install menstrual product dispensers in at least two restrooms per building free of charge.

House Bill 3294, passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2021, required all public schools to provide free menstrual products in at least two bathrooms in every building on campus by July 1, 2021.

A first shipment of 200 dispensers arrived at OSU in November 2021, with another 289 expected to arrive by the end of January.

OSU began installing these dispensers, starting in the buildings with the greatest number of students.

“It came to my attention last term that the university was not in compliance with this House bill that was introduced… Nothing was happening administratively,” said Maya Sonpatki, coordinator of accessibility and well-being at Associated Students of OSU. “It was a bit blurry when you could expect to see [dispensers] everywhere on campus… Between the students of the periodic chapter of OSU and those of ASOSU, we wanted to encourage the administration to achieve this.

According to HB 3294, menstrual dispensers and products must be in place in all restrooms — not just two — in buildings providing educational services to students by July 1, 2022.

OSU has not met the requirement to have a dispenser in two bathrooms in each building by July 1, 2021, but is now trying to meet the requirement to have a dispenser in all restrooms in all buildings by July 1, 2022.

Vending machines requiring coins will be converted to a cashless operation, and temporary baskets or containers will be provided in place of vending machines until more arrive.

“There are still some final rules that have yet to be defined… This is defined by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, they are responsible for developing the rules for this bill, but the final rules will not be available before late spring or summer of 2022,” Sonpatki said.

According to Sonpatki, the main goal of working with other groups on campus is to keep the pressure on the university and make sure they follow through.
with the process.

Specifications surrounding the Menstrual Dignity Act can be accessed through the Menstrual Dignity Toolkit, a set of community standards and procedures outlined by the Oregon Department of Education in November 2021.

“Within the club, I do a lot of the role of the education committee, so the secretary and I work together to organize educational events on topics like menstrual poverty and menstrual fairness,” said Sonia Nair, vice president of the OSU period. Chapter. “I was asked by some of the Oregon period chapter leaders to help with the Menstrual Dignity Act and their toolkit, so I worked on that and also helped draft and modify the toolbox.”

Nair encouraged students to send photos of any vending machines they find on campus to Period members at OSU. Their most recent Instagram post includes three photos of different dispensers in women’s and neutral bathrooms, along with instructions on how to use them.

“The current models of each of the distributors are very different,” said Emma Gilmore, vice president of public relations for Period at OSU. “Because we’re not used to having these free menstrual dispensers, I know a lot of people go to the bathroom without even noticing or even recognizing them.”

According to Gilmore, the terminology used by the Oregon Department of Education in the Menstrual Dignity Act does not specify the sole implementation of menstrual products in women’s and gender-neutral restrooms.

“It’s up to the institution to decide where the greatest need is and where these dispensers will go when they arrive, and my male peers personally haven’t seen any in their toilets,” Gilmore said. “It’s really important to know because not all menstruating women are women, and the bill requires free pads and tampons for all menstruating students.”

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