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The case of the missing menstrual products is solved, for now

Ali Rei

Opinion’s Editor

About a little more than a week has passed since the case of the missing menstrual products opened on campus. Plastic containers filled with menstrual products have been spotted in the bathrooms, some of which I’ve found to be empty, meaning this solution was very much needed. Questions have been circulating about the containers in the bathrooms: “Who put them there?” “How do they get refilled?” “How long will this last?” “Is the case of the missing menstrual products finally closed?” Regarding the last question, I’d say the case is closed, for now. Luckily, all of your other questions can be answered too.

The “who” in this operation is composed of multiple people: Leslie Schuster, the director of the Gender and Women’s studies program at Rhode Island College, has led the charge with this push for equitable access to resources. By Schuster’s side is the Gender and Women’s studies program itself, providing these products for free in the women’s and gender neutral bathrooms. Also accompanying them in this surge for justice are the faculty and staff of the buildings that these containers are found in. Keeping these containers full and accessible to students is almost a shared effort across Rhode Island College, yet efforts from one particular entity are still missing: the college itself.

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According to Leslie Schuster, “The administration is currently investigating the installation of vending machines in the bathrooms.” The status and details of this investigation are still unknown, but updates will be posted once they are received. As mentioned in my previous article regarding the menstrual products on campus, Rhode Island law has implemented free menstrual products in the women’s bathrooms of public schools. Whether or not this law includes Rhode Island College is also still unknown, but why shouldn’t we be included? Rhode Island College prides itself in serving its students; however, it appears to me that the college is just taking credit for the work done by its faculty and staff.

Students are speaking about the containers in the bathrooms highly, with some even refilling them with their own supplies. Accountability of RIC has also been coming up in these conversations, wondering why it is that the faculty and staff are providing for their students and not the college. As always, menstrual products are available in the Unity Center and at Health Services, while also being available in the women’s and gender neutral bathrooms.

Justice has been mostly served with equitable access to menstrual products, the final step of having it be provided by RIC is still needed. The push to have RIC provide for its students still needs to stand strong, for the responsibility of providing these products should not lie on the faculty and staff. Sharing is caring, so if you see someone in need of a tampon or a pad, don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand. The road to equity starts and ends with us all.


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