Emory campaign for free tampons takes off

Some male students don’t think we should fund something that’s ‘only for girls’

The Emory administration is being urged to provide free tampon dispensers in restrooms across main campus. More than 900 students have signed the petition launched two weeks ago by Emory College Council Sophomore Legislator, Julie Chen.

Since September, Julie has been spearheading the campaign through the Emory College Council, struggling through administrative red tape and insufficient funding. When a representative from Emory Campus Life contacted her saying they could talk if she could prove there was interest, Julie created and shared the petition.

She explained her motivation behind the initiative: “Sometimes I’m just not prepared, and what am I supposed to do? There aren’t even machines that will take my money if I had some.

“Nobody should ever be caught off guard—far from their dorms, on their way to class—and have to go home.”

And Julie isn’t alone in these thoughts.

College Council Junior Legislator Izzy Kornman said: “It’s a no brainer. This is one issue we can all agree on. And in a climate that isn’t usually like that, I think it’s important to have something to rally around, even if it’s feminine products.”

In fact, widespread Emory support for free tampons isn’t just limited to Atlanta. College junior, Caitlyn Winders, added her voice to the cause while abroad in Paris.

She said: “I’ve always been a strong supporter of free access to feminine hygiene products.

“Tampons and pads are unnecessarily expensive and products that can considered similar, like toilet paper and condoms, are free and easily accessible.

“Safe sex is infinitely more glamorous than a period.”

While that may or may not be true, it’s inarguable tampons have been enjoying their time in the limelight as students across Emory lend their support to the cause. Julie’s petition collected about 900 signatures in less than a week as the link made its rounds through social circles on Facebook, from College Council members, to sororities, to Feminists in Action and menstruation sympathizers everywhere.

However, despite almost exclusively positive responses, Julie says the petition has received some backlash.

According to her, criticism comes mostly from male students who don’t believe it’s necessary for the administration to fund something that is “only for girls.” Although Julie does point out that as students, we pay for plenty of services that don’t directly benefit us, as a student representative she prefers to let the signatures speak for themselves.

“This isn’t my personal vendetta—it’s for the student body, and if nobody wanted me to do it, I wouldn’t do it.

“Given that it’s gotten so much support and so many responses, I think that it’s a good indicator it’s something we should look into.”

And yet, there is only so much that students can do—the ball is in the administration’s court. According to Julie, her contact in Campus Life has not yet responded to the petition’s rising popularity, though Julie has reached out twice since the signatures began rolling in.

Even still, supporters remain optimistic.

Izzy said: “They definitely will install them, because we’ll bother them about it until they do.

“And the administration, for whatever personal opinions are about the way they do things, understand a good PR situation. This could be a way for them to say—We’re front-runners! We care about women’s rights! It’s good press.”

While menstruating girls everywhere are keeping their fingers crossed, the petition itself has already began to do good.

“No one wants to talk about women’s health,” Julie says, and it’s true. Even five minutes earlier, I couldn’t help but glance around as Chen and I discussed detailed instances of new emergency female friendships made over leaking.

“We still have a long way to go, but hopefully this will make something that happens to literally every woman a little easier to talk about.”