Students petition to have tampons sold on-campus

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10/6/16 Tampons

Erin Zaranec

For females living on campus with limited transportation options, having an extra $527 wouldn’t mean anything else except spending it on feminine products.

Two Kent State students started an online petition on Tuesday encouraging Kent State to make feminine products available through Dining Services marketplaces like Eastway and Rosie’s, allowing students to use pre-paid meal plans to fund feminine product needs.

Currently, the only on-campus location that sells feminine products is the Kent State Bookstore, which sells boxes of tampons and pads in packs of 18. For a female student living on-campus for four years, she would spend approximately $526.66 on tampons and pads if consistently purchasing these items from the bookstore.

For junior journalism major Alicia Krynock and junior political science major Claire Bobel, the lack of access to feminine products began as a casual conversation between friends, but led to an online petition that collected 416 signatures in less than 24 hours.

The petition reads: “When students at Kent State University get their monthly period, it can be very difficult to get the products we need. We as KSU students would like for these products, specifically tampons and pads, to be sold in the on-campus marketplaces. The Eastway and Rosie’s marketplaces are convenient to students living on-campus, many of whom do not have cars to go off-campus to make these purchases. If available for purchase on the meal plan, this would be mutually beneficial to the University and it’s students to have tampons and pads sold in the marketplaces.”

Male and female students have both been signing the petition and sharing it via social media to show their support.

“We remember how difficult it was to live on campus and have a period. I’d have to walk to Walgreens every time I ran out of tampons, and that takes time away from studying and classes,” Bobel said. “I chose to be a student here, but I don’t chose to bleed monthly. Everywhere you look, someone is handing you a free condom … which is awesome and totally necessary, but where are the tampons and pads?”

The students have reached out to the Women’s Center, the Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the LGBTQ Student Center to gain support for the petition. They also plan to reach out to university administration to gain support and awareness of the cause.

“If people are having trouble affording feminine products, it becomes a health issue … these things can only be used in a healthy way for certain periods of time,” said Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, assistant director of the Women’s Center. ‘So, if we can provide these for students, it can really benefit student health.”

Last year, the Women’s Center began offering feminine products in its pantry, which is accessible to students, staff, faculty and Kent community members.

“We’ve had staff who have previously come here and collected our pantry items to leave notes in the (academic) building(s) telling students they have feminine products available for them, so it is an issue,” Pegg-Kirby said.

Without a reliable form of transportation to downtown Kent or surrounding cities, students can be stuck in a state of need.

“Kent State is not just a university, but a home for many of it’s students, and they should be able to access what they need to manage their flow,” Bobel said. “It can be a real struggle to get these products if you are without a car, not able to walk almost a mile to get to a drug store, or if the bookstore is closed — especially during the winter.”

While access to feminine care is an overall goal of the petition, Krynock and Bobel said they believe there is a larger issue surrounding feminine care and menstruation: the stigma attached to it.

“(The petition) has already started a discussion about menstrual needs, and women feel comfortable speaking out about how those needs are being overlooked,” Krynock said. “I hope this will help to normalize the conversation around menstruation and make Kent State an even more welcoming environment to women’s issues.”

Krynock and Bobel are hosting a meeting Oct. 11 in room 229 of the Student Center at 6 p.m. to discuss turning the petition into action. The meeting is open to all students, staff, faculty and Kent community members.

Erin Zaranec is the Entertainment Editor, contact her at [email protected]