SGA resolution calls for free feminine hygiene products on campus

Kayla Solino | @kaylasolino, Staff Reporter

The Student Government Association Senate unanimously approved a resolution on Thursday, Sept. 24 that calls for free feminine hygiene products in public restrooms on the UA campus.

The approved resolution will be sent to UA President Stuart Bell, Vice President and Provost James Dalton, Vice President for Student Life Myron Pope, and Faculty Senate President Chapman Greer for review.

The legislation, authored by Senators CJ Pearson and Collier Dobbs, was sponsored by over 15 additional senators. It calls for the creation of a working group that includes members of the executive and legislative branches to further explore the proposal’s feasibility.

“Women should not feel as if they are at a disadvantage because of something that they can’t control,” Pearson said. “This isn’t about male or female. This isn’t about any type of ideology or whatever. This is simply about ensuring that every student here feels as if their university supports that in the most important way.”

Pearson and Dobbs said during the senate meeting that the pilot initiative will begin in women’s restrooms at the UA Student Center to gauge its effectiveness.

Prior research cited in the legislation said students who lack access to menstrual products experience higher rates of absences and are less likely to focus and engage in the classroom.

Research from Thinx & PERIOD reported that 1 in 5 teens in the United States have struggled to or were unable to afford period products. At least  4 out of 5 students have either missed class time or know someone who missed class time because they lacked access to period products.

The University of Alabama enrolled more than 38,000 students in fall 2021, and 57% identify as female.

HerCampus is a student organization dedicated to uniting college women through a newsletter, events and online articles. HerCampus writer Ciara Callicott said the legislation is a step in the right direction for the SGA, especially since providing free feminine hygiene products could benefit low income students like herself.

Callicott previously wrote about period poverty, a term  to describe inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education, in an article for HerCampus.

“We don’t always have the best representation for [low income students’] needs, but I really think that this piece of legislation is going to address at least one of them, which is definitely a step in the right direction,” Callicott said. “And hopefully SGA as a whole will continue to take low income students’ needs more into account when they’re proposing legislation.”

SGA Press Secretary Olivia Davis said the SGA is proud of this initiative.

“The SGA supports the efforts to provide increased accessibility to feminine hygiene products across campus. We are very proud that this conversation is occurring among student leaders,” Davis said.