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Tampon accessibility pilot program set to begin on campus

Eight tampon dispensary machines were installed in the Ohio Union restrooms as part of Undergraduate Student Government’s pilot program to provide access to free feminine hygiene products. Credit: Amanda Parrish | Lantern Reporter

A pilot program set forth to increase access to free feminine hygiene products on campus is under way as tampon dispensers were installed in Ohio Union restrooms Tuesday.

The program, introduced by Undergraduate Student Government, will consist of 20 tampon dispensers split between the Union and the RPAC.

“Eight of the 20 dispensers have arrived and will be installed in the Ohio Union beginning [Tuesday],” said Dave Isaacs, spokesman for the Office of Student Life. “The other 12 are still on back order.”

The back order was caused by overwhelming demand on the manufacturer, Hospeco — a national corporation that specializes in “universal access to menstrual hygiene products,” according to its website.

In states like Illinois and California, public schools are required to have free tampon dispensers in their bathrooms, resulting in a substantial increase in demand for Hospeco.

USG Vice President Sophie Chang, who has been pushing for the program since last semester, was told Jan. 18 that the order wouldn’t be filled in time.

This is not the first roadblock USG faced in the installation process. Ohio State’s Facilities Operations and Development is responsible for the installation of the dispensers in campus buildings and the Office of Student Life is responsible for the installation in the Union and RPAC. The department was unsure where to place the machines in the bathrooms since many have tile walls, causing logistical complications.

“[The Office of Student Life] wants to put the dispensers on drywall instead of tiles,” USG President Andrew Jackson said. “The drywall is easier to cover back up as compared to having to replace the whole tile for where you place the dispenser.”

Jackson said the dispensers will be installed, regardless of wall material, because of the delay in delivery.

“[FOD] is waiting on the machines to be transported to them, so they can be installed,” Chang said, “Then the products can be put into the machines, and then we can start the trial process.”

Correction, 1/26 at 2:22 p.m.: a previous version of this article stated FOD was responsible for the Ohio Union and RPAC installation. In fact, the Office of Student Life is responsible. 

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