The Tampon Tax movement at NYU cannot be appeased — Students for Sexual Respect at NYU created a petition on Sept. 29 asking NYU to provide free menstrual hygiene products. The petition is directed to the Office of Student Affairs and the Health Promotion Office and requested to make MHPs available in all female, male and gender-neutral bathrooms to ensure that all students feel safe using the bathroom consistent with their gender identity.
“It is common to run into a student in the bathroom who is desperately seeking a tampon or pad,” the petition said. “By making MHPs inaccessible to those who need them, NYU implicitly accepts that barriers to education based on anatomy are permissible. This is unfair and discriminatory.”
First-year NYU Law student Meghan Racklin and Gallatin senior Josy Jablons spearheaded the petition and co-founded Students for Sexual Respect at NYU. Within five days of its inception, the petition gained over 1,500 signatures.
“We chose to include a petition in our efforts, because we believe it effectively demonstrates that the NYU community supports this campaign,” they said in a joint statement. “Three days after launching our petition, we have nearly 1,500 signatures — if that doesn’t indicate need, we’re not sure what does.”
The two also introduced a resolution to the Student Senators Council and communicated with different school administrators and student organizations. NYU spokesperson Matt Nagel said that the university constantly reviews its services to better meet student needs.
“Student Affairs has already done some initial work reviewing the national landscape on this issue and continues to look at availability and costs that might be associated with a program of this nature,” Nagel said. “We appreciate the students’ feedback on this issue, which we will take under consideration as we evaluate our options for the future.”
CAS sophomore Louise Mathevon signed the petition and said that she believes this is a step in the right direction.
“I also think it’s long overdue,” Mathevon said. “I think it’s not right that because some people are born with vaginas, they have to spend 40 years buying overpriced products so they don’t have to bleed all over themselves.”
Racklin and Jablon said that this issue of cost intertwines closely with principle, since they believe that bodies that menstruate should not be more expensive than those that do not.
“We each spend about $10 per month on MHPs,” they said. “That is a significant amount of money, especially at a school where so many students are struggling with student debt. $10 a month for MHPs is $10 a month that some students need to budget for while others don’t.”
Email Téa Kvetenadze at [email protected]