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LGBT Campus Resource Center now offers free pads and tampons

The LGBT Campus Resource Center is offering free pads and tampons for students, in addition to condoms and dental dams. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Shweta Chawla and Jo Huang

Sept. 4, 2016 11:22 p.m.

Correction: The original version of the article incorrectly stated the Ashe Center will open a distribution space for pads and tampons.

The LGBT Campus Resource Center added pads and tampons to its selection of free products for students, which includes condoms and dental dams.

The center partnered with the Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center in early August to provide the pads and tampons, said Raja Bhattar, the center’s director, in an email statement. The products will be in bowls at the LGBT Campus Resource Center center’s front desk.

“We have a few hundred (products) and will continue to provide them as requested by students,” Bhattar said.

Bhattar said they think the new service will have an important impact on how people think about female sexual health.

“It’s a very good educational moment to be able to help students understand the necessity for sexual health, as administration has previously focused mainly on contraceptives rather than items related to menstruation,” Bhattar said.

Several students said they are pleased that the center is offering free feminine hygiene products.

“(Sometimes) you have to go and (ask) your friends, find a place to meet up and sneakily exchange the pad,” said Jeannie Huang, a rising second-year cognitive science student said. “It’s awkward.”

Huang added she thinks having both pads and tampons available is convenient, since some students prefer to use one or the other.

Ana Sheng, an incoming first-year pre-business economics student, said she is surprised by how many services the Ashe Center offers students, and thinks the pads and tampons are an important addition. The Ashe Center currently offers free toothbrushes and condoms on appointment desk counters and examination rooms.

In an email statement, Geno Mehalik, the outreach and special projects manager at the Ashe Center, stated the center is working with the Student Wellness Commission to determine how to distribute the feminine hygiene products. There is a possibility the products will be dispensed in women’s restrooms or through similar vending options, available in the fall quarter of this year.

Jane Lee, a rising third-year economics student, said she thinks the free pads and tampons are something students can take advantage of now, but the Ashe Center would be a more relevant place to provide the products. She said she would be more likely to take the free products if they were located at the Ashe Center.

Some students said they think the free items will help reduce the burden of the “pink tax,” an extra charge some people believe is placed on feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Isabella Darden, a rising fourth-year psychobiology student. “I think the reason they ‘tax’ these items more is because they know that they are necessary and people will have to buy them.”

Megan Daley, a rising second-year, anthropology and political science student said she thinks the service will be especially beneficial for underprivileged students because tampons are expensive.

“(Menstruation) is a natural part of being a female, (but) because of the pink tax, it has become more expensive to be female over the years,” Daley said.

With contributing reports from Kuhelika Ghosh, Features and student life editor.

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