OPINION: Riverside City College falls short in providing menstrual products to community

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By Maria Odenbaugh 

Menstrual products are just as important as every other resource provided to students and providing such products should be prioritized by Riverside City College.

 Higher education institutions are required to provide free menstrual products under the Menstrual Equality for all Act of 2021. However, RCC restrooms either don’t have menstrual products in place or have very limited quantities available.

In many RCC women’s restrooms a sign saying “Additional free menstrual products available,” is displayed near old, unusable pad and tampon dispensers and paper towel dispensers. 

 These products are essential and should be provided in each and every facility, not just a selected few. 

Anyone on their period should not have to worry if the restroom near their classroom will have what they need.

Tampons and pads are provided in the Digital Library on the second floor restrooms, the engagement centers and Basic Needs Resource Center on campus. 

We shouldn’t take that for granted, however, we can’t settle for that.

What amount of students know tampons and pads are located there or even know of any place on campus where they can grab one?
“It’s a need. We need it(menstrual products),” Liliane Perez, an RCC student, said.

Perez said there is always worry and embarrassment attached to having to find menstrual products. If they were available in every restroom it would save students embarrassment, time and worry.

“I feel like my day would be ruined,” Perez said. “Now I have to go home, then explain it to my professor when I could just go to the bathroom and (menstrual products) would be there.”

Our health is impacted by these barriers but it is not being handled as an urgent concern.

Not having menstrual products available force people to use makeshift pads out of toilet paper, increasing their chances of yeast and urinary tract infection. Having each restroom on campus full of products can prevent students from experiencing such health issues.

There is a high percentage of college students experiencing period poverty, the struggle low-income people face affording menstrual products. 

As inflation increases so does the price of menstrual products. Students already have the burden of the constant increasing cost of furthering their education, the school can help alleviate that burden and make these essential items more accessible.

We need to come together as students to have menstrual products in all bathrooms where they’re easily accessible.

Students part of El Camino College’s Associated Students Organization have shown what exactly needs to start happening in order to see change. They’ve added momentum to the conversation and questioned the possibility of having menstrual products provided to students.

Seeing more period products in the bathroom should be common and not questioned. 

To get to that point, students with periods need to be made aware of the school’s responsibility and start questioning the lack of necessities.

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