• Megan Woolhouse

    Staff Writer

    Megan Woolhouse

    Megan Woolhouse Megan Woolhouse worked as a reporter at the Boston Globe for more than a decade, in addition to newspapers in Louisville, Ky., and Baton Rouge, La. A graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Clark University in Worcester, she lives in Boston and enjoys baking, reading, and taekwondo sparring with her seven-year-old daughter. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 28 comments on Should Colleges Make Tampons Free on Campus?

  1. At a perfect BU, feminine hygiene products would be offered in every bathroom and BU sustainability would provide menstraul cups and period panties upon request. As a first step, I fully support feminine hygiene products in the restrooms. As an undergraduate, I worried monthly if I had enough money to buy feminine hygiene products. If I ran out of shampoo that week too, I had to make a tough decision.

  2. The university should take the 20,000 dollars they think it’s going to cost out of President Brown’s next pay raise. Problem solved. And if boys think that sanitary items are such a luxury, I’d love for them to see what their class room seats would look like without them.

  3. Bad idea. Women will feel entitled to stock their purses. Soon as you offer them for free they will all be taken immediately and placed in purses and dorm rooms because this is just how people operate.

  4. This is definitely a great and needed thing. I’ve been approached by many girls during my time here with that anxious look we all know, asking for extra pads or tampons. I’ve been in that situation myself. Sometimes you just forget to bring extras, or it surprises you, and it’s always reassuring knowing that you’ll be able to take care of yourself because there are free ones in the bathrooms!

  5. I appreciate BU Today lending an ear and space to this important discussion. As the faculty advisor to the PERIOD student organization on campus, I want to highlight the mission of PERIOD as available on their website: https://www.period.org/about-us/ First, PERIOD is an organization dedicated to SERVICE by supplying/delivering menstrual products to individuals in need. This may include individuals who attend Boston University, but mainly the focus is outreach to marginalized peoples in the communities in and surrounding BU. Second, PERIOD serves to EDUCATE people regarding menstruation and how to promote discourse around this basic human function. Third, PERIOD serves as an ADVOCATE to create change positive changes through the political and media spheres.

    Anyone interested in joining the club can find information here: http://www.bu.edu/studentactivities/get-involved/

  6. I was concerned when the machines were taken out of the COM Ladies rooms with no replacement machines. We now offer no monthly products for students – paid or free.

  7. This seems to be one of those issues where 95% of people think it should be a no-brainer, but if 3% have strong ideas about exposure to menstruating women based on religious practice, strange things happen. Interesting to see what it takes to have an inclusive learning environment.

  8. Coin-operated dispensers used to be available and most usually with some product stocked when I was a student, but now they are not stocked and obviously not in working order. I keep products in my office in case students or visitors are caught short. Recently, I’ve begun looking for places in the restrooms on my floor to stash some extras. In light of the growing conversation, and in support of the effort, I will speak with our facilities personnel before I try a more visible approach like a tray or basket for the restrooms in my little corner of the campus for the remainder of this semester. Its not a luxury and it can make for a distracting and embarrassing situation.

  9. What we really need is a much greater focus on the use of menstrual cups over tampons and pads. I *WISH* someone had told me about these when I was much younger, they are amazing. I spent $30-40 on a menstrual cup over 5 years ago (they last 5-10 years), and it makes those awkward times of the month much easier – and cheaper! – to deal with. It’s small and easy to keep on hand or take traveling (especially to countries where tampons are not so freely available), and it eliminates the the huge amounts of waste created by tampons and other feminine hygiene products. Definitely recommend.

  10. I suggest we invest in Terrier Card activated tampon/pad dispensers that do NOT deduct any $$ from the student funds.
    Additionally, the dispensers should be located in the all gender bathrooms because there are men on campus that need tampons/pads.

    1. My thoughts, too! At my small Midwest college campus, our restrooms have baskets of feminine hygiene products available. I could see the potential for non-university people helping themselves to free supplies on a campus like BU’s. Requiring the swipe of a Terrier card would restrict free access to BU affiliates, & provide a way of monitoring for misuse.

  11. Make them pay for the tampons. Treat it as a convience fee, after all men pay for condoms in the vending machine.
    I would also be pissed having to pay extra tuition for these tampons.

    1. I am old enough to remember coin operated bathroom stalls in public restrooms at shopping centers. That’s right—if you didn’t have a dime, you could not relieve yourself. These became outlawed for the simple reason that we all gotta go sometime. Men, please stop acting as if women have a choice in whether to have a period or not. None of us is expected to carry a roll of toilet paper in case we have a bowel movement while on campus. Why should women be expected to carry tampons or napkins all the time incase their period starts while on campus?

    2. Cas, do you know when *exactly* you’re going to have a bowel movement? Do you bring a roll of toilet paper with you while on campus just in case?

      And by the way, condoms are a false equivalency—unless you have absolutely no control over when and where you have sex.

    3. Your sex life is a choice, I did not choose to get a monthly period. These are two completely different categories you are attempting to relate to one another.

    4. But men don’t have to pay for condoms on campus. Male condoms and other safe sex products are available for FREE at Student Health Services or SHIPPED to your door/mailbox for FREE.

      The University has been offering safe sex products for both men and women for years! It’s time they offer free tampons/pads/menstrual cups to students.

      People CHOOSE to have sex and can get free products. It’s time students get free period products for something they can’t avoid.

    5. Last time I checked BU provides condoms for free, they definitely have the funds to do feminine products as well. At the very least the machines should work.

  12. I’m part of the 46% that doesn’t support this. Men are essentially being told they need to pay for women’s feminine hygiene products. This is unjust, since men already spend about $110 / year on mandatory male hygiene products (yes, shaving is mandatory for social acceptance in most career fields). Women spend around $120 on pads/tampons each year—about the same as cost on hygiene as men. So not only am I forced to purchase my own hygine now, I have to pay for women’s too through my tuition and fees? Considering equality, no thanks.

    Men: http://jacobrayrazors.com/cost-of-wet-shaving/
    Women: https://groundswell.org/women-spend-hundreds-of-extra-dollars-per-year-heres-one-easy-out/

    1. Andrew, do you also complain that vegetarians’ room-and-board fees have to go to buy all the food in the dining hall, including meat? Do you complain that not every BU student uses the free shuttle, so it shouldn’t be available for anyone? Do you complain about university money going to sports when not every student follows BU athletics? Sorry, but society in general and university fees specifically aren’t an a la carte system. Sometimes we’re charged for things that benefit the community as a whole, even if we ourselves don’t specifically use it, because *everyone* is paying for things that are for the whole overall group.

      And shaving is just not a comparable example of hygiene. Women are expected to shave too, in case you didn’t realize, and men can grow out beards if they don’t want to shave and still be seen as looking professional. The better comparison is toilet paper – it’s something that is ALWAYS in a public bathroom, because it’s needed. And not to mention, if you didn’t read the article closely and so you missed it, the toilet paper comparison is important because it’s URGENTLY needed – but the BU bathrooms don’t even have the paid dispensers in bathrooms for emergencies anymore.

  13. You do know you can get free condoms on campus from SHS and a bunch of other places, right? … Right? The Condom Fairy will deliver them to your mailbox if you don’t want to go out to the places you can get them for free. Free condom movements are important for public health absolutely, so we already have that on campus.

    Also, I think we already pay more than enough tuition to spare a small amount of money for pads and tampons. As the University of Washington representative described, it’s way less than universities already pay on soap! Our university president is one of the highest paid in the entire country; I think it’s safe to say there’s enough room in the budget to pay for tampons and pads without increasing tuition at all – especially since BU could bulk order them and drastically reduce costs that way.

    1. Whoops this was supposed to be a reply to Cas, not a comment on the article itself, since Cas brought up condoms without seeming to realize they’re available for free.

  14. One potential solution is having machines implement a similar mechanism to the ID scanning technology utilized to gain entry into BU residences. Perhaps consider putting a limit on how frequently and maybe even how many tampons a student is limited to in order to address this issue that BU Facilities foresees. This system would work most similarly to a vending machine in which students access it via verifying their identity, just as they do via dining halls to track meal swipes. The one exception to this system would be that tampons be made free as they are a vital part of hygiene for female-bodied individuals or individuals with a vagina/uterus.

  15. Not sure why it is the University’s or anyone’s responsibility to provide me with tampones or hygiene pads for free. If USA was a third world country where people do not have money to buy these products, I understand. I am an adult and am responsable and have the money to buy them. I am trying to understand the reason why BU or any institution should provide us woman with free tampones or hygiene pads, but I can’t. Not even the hospital provided me with free pads when I had my baby, I didn’t pay at the moment they provided them, but my insurance did, and of course, I pay for my insurance.

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