The student body president of Brown University will distribute menstrual products by hand to men’s rooms on campus starting this year. With the help of 20 other like-minded students, Viet Nguyen
, President of the Undergraduate Council of Students, said in a campus-wide email recently that not all people who menstruate are women.
“There’s been a lot of conversation about why pads and tampons are a necessity, not a luxury, but not a lot of action. We wanted to take it into our own hands,” Nguyen explains. He claimed that “low-income students struggle with having the necessary funding for food, let alone tampons.”
Nguyen wants to “set a tone of trans-inclusivity, and not forget that they’re an important part of the population,” but realizes that his effort to distribute feminine products in male environments will be popular. “I’d be naïve to say there won’t be push back,” he concedes. “I’ve had questions about why we’re implementing this in male bathrooms as well. It’s an initial confusion, but people generally understand when we explain it.”
In an interview with Newsweek, Nguyen said that feminine products will be distributed free of charge to approximately 30 to 40 bathrooms across campus for the 2016–2017 school year. The effort will be financed exclusively by the undergraduate finance board, instead of the general fund of the private university.
“Why aren’t these products treated the same way as other products we hand out, like toilet paper?” Nguyen said in an interview with The Guardian. “It’s a necessity, rather than a luxury, so Brown and other universities should treat them as such.”
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