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Smith College student calls for school to put tampons in all MEN'S rooms for 'those with uteruses'

A student at one of America's most famous historically-female colleges implored bosses to install tampon and sanitary pad dispeners in men's bathrooms to be more inclusive to 'those with uteruses' 

Smith College student writer Jade Mosely made the suggestion in a piece entitled Smith Has A Period Problem for the college's paper The Sophian. While the college, based in Northampton, Massachusetts is famed for being women only, it has started admitting male students to its graduate programs in recent years.

Mosely wrote that Smith's current policy on period products is indicative of the $56,000-a-year educational institution 'adopting a clandestine attitude towards menstruation to cater to cisgender men.' 

The student journalist went on to write that Smith 'is not exempt from the widespread effects of period poverty by virtue alone'  and urged the institution to 'take the hygienic needs of its.. students of varying identities... seriously.'

Not providing free and accessible menstrual products to students, the writer proclaimed, is a 'deliberate choice' that 'sends a clear message to menstruating students about the lack of care for their wellbeing.' 

The opinion piece, entitled 'Smith Has a Period Problem' and published today in the school's newspaper The Sophian, asserts that Smith College (pictured) 'is not exempt from the widespread effects of period poverty by virtue alone' and urged the institution to 'take the hygienic needs of its.. students of varying identities... seriously'

 Not providing free and accessible menstrual products to students, the writer proclaimed, is a 'deliberate choice' that 'sends a clear message to menstruating students about the lack of care for their wellbeing'

'However, I think we need to do more than simply remove the stigma around periods,' the writer said in the opinion piece. 'Smith College, which has posited itself as a progressive institution for gender and sexuality has to understand that accessibility remains a serious issue for menstrual hygiene'

'The horrifying middle school classroom paranoia that your period has started fades away mostly in high school, and nearly completely at an institution like Smith,' wrote Mosely. 

'However, I think we need to do more than simply remove the stigma around periods. Smith College, which has posited itself as a progressive institution for gender and sexuality has to understand that accessibility remains a serious issue for menstrual hygiene.'

The writer, whose name does not appear anywhere in college directories, or the newspaper's staff list, claimed that house bathrooms and other public restrooms on campus are not installed with dispensers for students. Although 98 percent of the student body is female, according to the school, about two percent of its attendees are male.

Although those products, she said, are sold at the school's bookstore, students 'are not expected to trek halfway across campus for toilet paper, and... should not have to do so for pads or tampons.'

'Similar to toilet paper,  these products should be made available in large enough quantities that there is no pervasive sorry that any bathroom might be completely out' of 'fair quality' hygiene products, consisting of 'pads with a sticky side and tampons with various size options.'

'Rather than adopting a clandestine attitude towards menstruation to cater to cisgender men, Smith should pioneer by taking the strangely radical position of understanding a period for what it is; a cycle common to those with uteruses which requires hygienic care.' 

In 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union called for tampons and other menstrual products to be placed in men's restrooms to help achieve menstrual equity for 'every person' who menstruates

Smith College could not be reached for comment at press time to detail the distribution of menstruation products on its campus or provide comment

Smith College could not be reached for comment at press time to detail the distribution of menstruation products on its campus or provide comment.

Its alumnae includes two first ladies - Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush - as well as other luminaries including feminist trailblazer Gloria Steinem, Gone With The Wind author Margaret Mitchell, TV chef Julia Child and poet Sylvia Plath. 

The student noted in the screed that the University of Minnesota and the University of Washington both provide free tampons in campus bathrooms as of 2007. 

In 2017, the University of Wisconsin-Madison became the third in the country to offer free tampons in men's rooms on campus, and a 2019 Illinois bill attempted to require school districts throughout the state to put free menstrual products in 'each bathroom of every school building.'

Mosely's op-ed comes amid ongoing wrangles over gender-inclusive language, with Democrat Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hitting the headlines last month after using the phrase 'people who menstruate.'

Advocates say their language is designed to include non-binary people and transgender men, who may still have female reproductive organs, and experience periods as a result.

Critics claim the language serves to erase women, and that it is a new and disturbing form of 'female erasure,' they liken to the historic misogyny women suffered.  

Earlier this year, Smith College quietly conceded that there was no truth to allegations of racism in the school's cafeteria that led to one staff member's resignation, another's dismissal and one staff member who was named online to be hospitalized with stress. 

Regardless, the college forced employees to attend seminars after unconscious bias after the incident.

Oumou Kanoute was in school's canteen on July 31, 2018 when she claimed she was profiled for 'eating while black' after a security guard asked her what she was doing. 

Kanoute, a psychology undergraduate student, posted video of the incident on social media and claimed that she was the victim of racism.

In fact, an independent law firm investigating the incident found that same year that there was no evidence of wrongdoing and cleared all those involved - the cafeteria was closed to all students that day and reserved for a children's summer camp.

Oumou Kanoute said that she was 'racially profiled' in the July 2018 incident at the school

Kanoute deleted her social media, but her 2018 post was shared on Instagram by sympathizers

'Before even investigating the facts of the incident, the college immediately issued a public apology to the student, placed the employee on leave, and announced its intention to create new initiatives, committees, workshops, trainings, and policies aimed at combating 'systemic racism' on campus,' wrote Jodi Shaw, a former residential life department employee at the school, in her resignation letter, where she cited the school's 'racially hostile environment'

'Before even investigating the facts of the incident, the college immediately issued a public apology to the student, placed the employee on leave, and announced its intention to create new initiatives, committees, workshops, trainings, and policies aimed at combating 'systemic racism' on campus,' wrote Jodi Shaw, a former residential life department employee at the school, in her resignation letter, where she cited the school's 'racially hostile environment.' 

In 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union called for all men's restrooms to include menstrual products to push back against discrimination for 'every person' who menstruates.

 'While free menstrual products are not uniformly provided in women’s restrooms, they are almost never available in men’s restrooms, even for pay,' read a statement put out by the union.

 'While access to menstrual products in women’s prisons is often inadequate, it is far worse in men’s prisons. Trans and non-binary people may be incarcerated in either,' they wrote. ''Menstrual stigma and period poverty can hit trans and non-binary people particularly hard.'