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Campus Group Partners with Loyola to Provide Free Menstrual Products Students

Nicky Andrews | The PhoenixThe Loyola Office of the Vice President teamed up with Students for Reproductive Justice to provide free menstrual products on campus, but this initiative has been followed by some concern regarding students' actions.

In the last year, Loyola teamed up with Students for Reproductive Justice (SRJ) to provide free pads and tampons for all students who menstruate. 

Previously, SRJ — an unofficial student organization which promotes resources for sexual and reproductive health  — provided these products themselves, while they tried to get the Loyola administration to help fund the project, The Phoenix reported.  

During the spring semester of 2018, the Vice President’s Office began a trial period of providing pads and tampons in select bathrooms around campus and because of overwhelmingly positive student feedback, the trial proved to be a success, according to SRJ’s website. SRJ didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

As a result, SRJ got the Loyola administration to take over this project permanently during the spring of 2019-20. Loyola began providing pads and tampons in five bathrooms at Lake Shore Campus and two bathrooms at Water Tower Campus shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic closed its campuses. Associate Dean of Students — Samantha Maher Sheahan — said this project is, “absolutely a success.” 

“I think it’s great that Loyola is providing pads and tampons for their students, but whenever I go into the bathroom there is never any there,” said first-year Jessica Marroquin, a neuroscience major. 

The Sullivan Center bathroom — one of five bathrooms to offer menstrual products at LSC — promotes the Menstrual Equity Project on signs above the supplied pads and tampons. The goal of this project was to work with Loyola administration to provide free tampons and pads for students through the Student Innovation Fund

“I had no idea that there were pads and tampons provided in the bathrooms,” said first-year Ellyson Heine, whose major is undecided but on the pre-law track.

A sign above the menstrual products states, “Any body can menstruate— if you don’t need these, leave them alone!” The sign was posted after previous incidents where menstrual products had been tampered with in the male and non-binary bathrooms, The Phoenix reported

Sophie Lewis | The Phoenix SRJ’s signs promoting menstrual equity are located throughout campus bathrooms that provide free pads and tampons.

“It’s frustrating that a community that prides itself on being caring and inclusive has had issues regarding menstrual products in the general neutral and male bathrooms,” Riley Tomes, a first-year theater and English major, said. 

A male student threw away menstrual products in the men’s restroom in October 2019, The Phoenix reported. After a peer confronted the student and was ignored, the bystander decided to post a video of the interaction to Twitter — by the morning the post was viral. 

Currently, the consequences following his actions are not public knowledge and The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) didn’t respond to The Phoenix when asked about potential consequences for this type of behavior. 

“Anybody that would ever see any tampering is encouraged to report,” Sheahan said. 

Sheahan explained if tampering is reported the university would “review available information, identify the respondent if possible, OSCCR would address behavior, and if it was found to be motivated by hate or bias then it would be sent to the Office of Equity and Compliance.”

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