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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

While more states join in on providing free menstrual products at school, the University of Arizona lags behind

The+University+of+Arizona+has+fallen+behind+other+public+universities+in+its+supplying+of+menstrual+products+to+students+on+campus.+This+is+a+symptom+of+a+larger%2C+statewide+problem+Arizona+still+taxes+menstrual+products+as+a+luxury+item%2C+and+makes+%247.1+million+on+this+tax+annually.
Dietz

The University of Arizona has fallen behind other public universities in its supplying of menstrual products to students on campus. This is a symptom of a larger, statewide problem Arizona still taxes menstrual products as a “luxury item,” and makes $7.1 million on this tax annually.

Have you ever noticed how hardly any of the bathrooms on campus have tampons or pads in the restrooms? 

The University of Arizona has fallen behind public universities in California and Utah, which have both implemented free menstrual products in their campus restrooms. 

According to the UA Office of Public Records, the “the university does not possess any records” on how much money, if any, it spends on these products. 

According to an article from the Daily Bruin, UCLA became the first public university in California to give out free menstrual products in all campus bathrooms. This began shortly after California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the California Menstrual Equity for All Act in October 2021, which requires all California public universities to provide free menstrual products as of the 2022-23 school year. 

Likewise, the Associated Students of the University of Utah began permanently supplying free menstrual products in all student academic buildings (men, women and gender-neutral restrooms) after partnering with the University Facilities, according to an article from the University of Utah. This includes over 1,300 restrooms. 

According to NPR, “bills related to period equity have been introduced in 37 states,” but only five states are requiring schools to provide free menstrual products with legislation.

Regardless of competing public universities, the struggle to afford menstrual products is not unique to the college-aged population; this is a nationwide issue. According to Period Law, 22 states still tax menstrual products as a “luxury” item, Arizona being one of them. Arizona makes $7.1 million on the Tampon Tax, which is the fourth-highest state profit from this tax in the country. 

In a study done by Thinx & PERIOD, researchers concurred that one in five U.S. teens have struggled to afford period products (or were not able to purchase them at all) and 84% of students have “either missed class time or know someone who missed class time because they did not have access to period products.” 

Some groups on campus try to offer these products on campus, such as the UA Women and Gender Resource Center, which offers free tampons and pads in its facility on the fourth floor of the Student Union Memorial Center. 

Lilly Arthur, a desk assistant at the WGRC and a UA sophomore studying political science, mentioned that the WGRC also got a grant for sustainable menstrual products which will allow for free menstrual cups, reusable pads and period underwear.

“I feel like [supplying] bathrooms is more critical for an in-the-moment need, and then maybe on your way back then you can grab what you need for the rest of the day or the rest of the week at the WGRC,” Arthur said. 

The WGRC does offer these products, but Arthur stressed the importance of having them in the bathrooms for emergency situations. 

“I feel like [the UA doesn’t] care that much,” Arthur said. “They justify not having these products by saying the WGRC does offer free menstrual products, which is true. But I think they use that as a scapegoat for saying that it’s already been addressed.” 


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