Update: ASI Senator Says More Menstrual Products Needed
Fresno State has responded to the lack of free menstrual products provided on campus and announced locations in the University Library and Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC) where they are currently located.
However, Megan Torres, Senator for Operations and Resident Affairs of Associated Students Inc. (ASI), said many of the library’s free menstrual products are still products she provided herself and not l ‘university.
“I went into some of these bathrooms that could have been these rooms and they had no products in them other than the products ASI purchased that I was able to put in them,” Torres said.
With the passage of California Assembly Bill 367 (AB367) in October 2021, universities in the State of California are required to stock “an adequate supply of menstrual products, available and accessible, free of charge, at at least one designated and accessible central location on each Campus.”
Torres has been in discussions with the administration regarding this bill, and she said the rules established by AB367 do not provide enough guidance to the university. She has since led a menstrual product initiative within ASI to improve its availability across campus since fall 2021.
According to Fresno State Public Information Officer Lisa Boyles Bell, students can find free menstrual products on the first floor of the library in rooms 1108 and 1113; second floor Rooms 2106 and 2111; and on the third floor, room 3110.
She also said products were available at the Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC) in rooms 147 and 148.
Upon investigation, The Collegian found that several of the toilets listed by the university contained menstrual products.
Also, the SHCC sells menstrual products, but they are not free.
Bell also said the university posted QR code stickers describing gender-neutral bathroom locations alongside the four locations where the university says it has stocked free menstrual products.
“We are grateful to ASI [Associated Students Inc.] and to the senator [Megan] Torres for their partnership in ensuring Fresno State continues to put the needs of our students first. In addition to start-up funding from ASI, annual funding to support this effort will be provided by the Student Health and Counseling Center,” Bell said.
According to Bell, the university is pleased to support the menstrual product initiative led by Torres.
“As we work to further support this initiative, we will continue to work with ASI and other stakeholder groups to ensure that all students have access to quality and equitable menstrual products across campus,” Bell said. .
Torres said she was disappointed with the lack of communication from the administration.
“I’ve spoken to different directors like director Michael Lukens and [President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval] on setting up meetings. They were able to get back to me – both of them – about it, but I wasn’t able to schedule a meeting until late April. With that, that was the invitation they sent out, but they didn’t update me on new findings,” Torres said. “I’m confused about seed funding because we haven’t talked about donating ASI products to them.”
None of the parts listed in the Google Doc of the QR code were clearly identified in the library. Room 2106 did not have a QR code sticker indicating that it was a place where students could pick up menstrual products.
Torres said she had difficulty finding the noted locations on Google Doc because they weren’t clearly marked on the wall.
“I don’t know why they would put decals on if they didn’t stock this toilet. So, you know, even though they did, it’s clearly not accessible to all students because it seemed a bit confusing,” Torres said.
Torres said she remains committed to addressing the inequality of menstrual products in college and plans to continue providing free daily menstrual products to students in need across the university.
“I understand that it’s not, you know, the only issue, but it’s an issue that matters and it’s been on the back burner for so long, like it’s 2022, and we still don’t have the basic necessities provided to us,” says Torres.
“I just wish people were more aware of it just because it’s not a topic that’s normalized. It’s not a topic that’s talked about. A lot of times a lot of these issues that primarily affect women are stigmatized and shunned,” she said.