Condoms are free, but feminine hygiene products are not

According to Georgia State’s IPORT, there are currently 30,352 female students across all six campuses. That’s significantly more than the 19,908 male students, yet every one of those male students has access to free condoms if they need them. The female students, however, do not have access to free feminine hygiene products on campus. We don’t even have dispensers in the women’s restrooms.

Yeah, let that little nugget sink in for a moment. I was shocked when I stopped to think about it. I’m so used to seeing the little metal dispensers in public restroom all over the place I don’t even think about it. For just a quarter or two I could have a sanitary napkin drop into my hand. It’s a staple in public restrooms; at least, it should be. 

To date, I have not found any within the main campus buildings, if you find any please let me know. 

It’s 2019, so how is this possible?

A few days ago, I went on a little trip around the Downtown campus to find out just how bad the situation was.  My first stop was the Student Health Clinic located on 141 Piedmont Ave NE, where I was told that feminine hygiene products are not in stock all the time, and at that moment they didn’t have any. I’d always thought the Health Clinic would be the most obvious place, a one-stop-shop kind of place for anything relating to student health.

“We don’t carry them or have them in stock,” the woman behind the counter told me.

Not only was I wrong, but I was directed to the building across the street, the second floor of the Piedmont building to be exact.

On the second floor is the Testing and Counseling Center offices. This is where anyone can pick up those nice free condoms I mentioned before. I spoke to Neil Beresford, an Administrative Coordinator, who was very helpful. He informed me that the free condoms so readily available just around the corner are free. Oh, and they’re free because the university uses student fees to pay for them.

Why only condoms? Shouldn’t feminine hygiene products count as health? Thankfully I’m not the only person who thinks this is weird. Ira Livnat, a freshman who’s currently running Student Government Association President also thought this was troubling. It’s part of his platform to provide discounted or free feminine hygiene products in our restrooms. 

At this point, I was on a mad hunt for feminine hygiene products anywhere on campus. I knew I could buy any kind I need at the Walgreens on 25 Peachtree St SW, but that couldn’t be the only option. I tried my luck in the Student Housing office and was met with curious and baffled expressions and comments from the female student workers behind the front desk. 

The Panther Pantry was my only salvation for free feminine hygiene. This little hidey-hole has a plethora of free items for students on campus. The only setback is that you can only take out two hygiene items per week, but if you plan it right you can save up and never have to pay.   

I reached out to Director of Student Wellness Tammy M. Turner to open a dialogue and see if there are any plans in the works to change the availability of feminine hygiene products on campus. As of this issue, she has not reached out with a comment, but the line of communication will always be open on this subject.