School-sanctioned menstrual products found in men's campus restroom
A viral video showing feminine hygiene products in a men's restroom at Western Carolina University recently garnered media attention.
This is one of many examples of universities introducing menstrual products in the men’s restroom.
A video showing menstrual products being offered in a men’s restroom at Western Carolina University generated 81.3K views since November 24.
Obtained by Libs of Tik Tok, the video was filmed by a student at the university showing a tampon dispenser in the men’s restroom. The student focuses on a sign hanging above the dispenser, pointing to the bottom paragraph where it denotes the project utilized student fees.
“The resources for this pilot are student fees and auxiliary operation funds,” the post said.
Western Carolina University utilizes student fees to fund tampons in the men’s bathrooms pic.twitter.com/hOmzdVWjXm
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) November 24, 2021
The operation depicted in the video is a program that was implemented in February 2020 “following a year-long collaborative [student effort] between” the Western Carolina University Student Government Association and Period@WCU, according to the former’s Facebook account.
Period is a nonprofit organization with chapters in 40 US states that conducts advocacy work “for systemic change through policy and legislation.”
According to its website, the organization “work[s] with the fundamental ethic that period rights are human rights. We believe menstruators- whether in school, prison, jail, or any public place, deserve safe and accessible period management products.”
The project included a student-led survey that reportedly amounted to over 1,000 signatures. It followed the passage of the SGA’s Resolution S19-24 that stipulated that the products were to be divided between the gendered bathrooms.
Originally, the resolution approved the program to operate for “a minimum of 7 weeks to a maximum of 15 weeks” beginning “fall of 2020 or later” for data collection. This was dependent on the University returning to “pre-pandemic” operations, as the original data collection was scheduled for Spring 2020.
Rebbeca Hart, President of Western Carolina University Student Government Association, told Campus Reform, “Providing products in all bathrooms allows equal access to anyone who may need it for themselves, a friend, or significant other.”
Brendan Chafin, a student at Western Carolina University and Campus Reform correspondent, reported that the posters have since been removed.
The debate of whether or not menstrual products should be funded in men’s restrooms is far from exclusive to Western Carolina University.
As Campus Reform reported in July, Michigan State University passed a resolution to supply all restrooms with menstrual products because “transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming people” aren’t “given the same access to these products in the restrooms that coincide with their gender.”
Boise State University recognized a student organization titled the “Menstrual Equity Club” to educate about period poverty and menstrual health. The club claims to be open to “menstruators and non-menstruators,” and decline to use the word “women” to be more inclusive.
In California, a bill was introduced that would cost public institutions between $750,000-$800,000. The bill was intended to increase gender equity, but expand to represent “transgender men, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people.”
The phenomenon has even spread off campus, and rather than be debated in the student senate chambers, the discussion is clattering up to hometown councils.
Ann Arbor, Michigan became the first city to require menstrual products be required in all public restrooms- women’s, men’s, and gender-inclusive, free of charge for the user. Businesses who fail to comply will be fined a maximum of $100.
The ordinance will go into effect January 1, 2022.
The ACLU, as well, has taken a hard stance on the issue by declaring that menstrual products are a necessity in men’s restrooms to prevent discrimination and achieve “menstrual equity”.
Campus Reform has reached out to the University and Period for comment, but did not receive a response at time of publication.