At Brown, tampons for men

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Tampons aren’t just for women anymore.

That’s the message coming from the student council, which began distributing tampons and pads in non-residential women’s, men’s and ‘gender neutral’ restrooms across campus this week, the Brown Daily Herald is reporting.

“We wanted to set a tone of trans-inclusivity and not forget that they’re an important part of the population,” student council president Viet Nguyen said in a campus-wide email announcing the initiative, which was first reported by Newsweek.

The student council began planning on the initiative this summer after learning that New York City would be making the feminine hygiene products available for free in all of its public school restrooms.

“Unlike toilet paper, which is provided for free in school restrooms, students are typically on their own to access menstrual supplies,” Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, an “advocate for menstrual equity” told Newsweek. “Yet in order to be fully engaged in the classroom, these are as much of a necessity as pencils and paper. This is especially true for younger teens who are more likely to be caught off guard by the arrival of their period and without budgets of their own to buy emergency tampons or pads.”

So far, Brown is the only college or university to adopt the idea, but students have been advocating for it on other campuses, according to Newsweek.

The goal is not just to make sure low-income students have access to the products but to combat ‘period shaming’ and increase ‘menstrual awareness.’

At Brown, the student council used student activities funds to finance the project this year, but it hopes that the University will cover costs over the long term, according to the Brown Daily Herald.

A spokesman for the university praised the effort in a statement provided to the NewBostonPost.

“In efforts to work with and support their peers, leaders from the Undergraduate Council of Students (UCS) take on a number of student-focused efforts each year. These are student-led and independent of the University administration, although we recognize that many important resources on campus today were first identified and advocated for by students themselves,” said the spokesman, Brian Clark.

“The effort to provide tampons and sanitary products in restrooms on campus is the result of the UCS students taking initiative. We expect that UCS will continue to solicit feedback on this new initiative and collect data on the use of these products. We will be interested to learn what they find as they assess the effectiveness of the program moving forward,” he added.