Lack of menstrual resources available on the Fresno State campus

At the February 23 Associated Student Inc. (ASI) meeting, Megan Torres, ASI’s Senator for Operations and Resident Affairs, spoke about the need for menstrual fairness on campus.

Torres, a biology major and double minor in chemistry and psychology, presented a 15-page data report, detailing her current efforts to personally stock 55 different toilets with menstrual products.

Torres said the rules established by Assembly Bill 367 (AB367) don’t provide much guidance for universities.

AB367 at Fresno State was the requirement to keep menstrual products in at least one central location on campus and not in every women’s or men’s restroom, according to Torres.

“If someone’s on the other side of campus [and] they have class in 10 minutes and they bleed, unfortunately that doesn’t help them,” Torres said.

“[AB367] is a good step in the right direction, [but] it’s not enough,” Torres said.

AB367 was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in October 2021. He signed into law the Menstrual Fairness for All Act which required all California State universities and community college districts to “stock an adequate supply of products period, available and accessible, free of charge, without less than a centrally designated and accessible location on each campus and posting a designated notice.

In his official report, Torres quoted President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval when he said “the minimum is not enough” during the ASI meeting on February 9, speaking of Chancellor Joseph Castro’s treatment of complaints of sexual harassment.

“He explained that the bare minimum isn’t enough and other issues won’t be put on the back burner, and I’m just here to hold people accountable,” she said.

Torres proposed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the university and the facilities to create a committee that would ensure that Fresno State and ASI dedicate a portion of its budget to menstrual equity on campus.

According to Torres, when visiting the restrooms to restock, she noticed a lack of posted notices and menstrual products in some areas.

“Fresno State is a university that values ​​diversity, equity and inclusion. At the moment they don’t meet the minimum requirements,” Torres said.

She also said that the guards restocking the toilets could have confused the products she gave to the students with those of the school.

“My job is not the college’s job,” Torres said.

In Torres’ report, she detailed her efforts to make menstrual products available, including a QR code on each basket that, when scanned, alerts her when a restock is needed.

During the restocking process, Torres indicated in her report that she was restocking daily.

According to the plan proposed by Torres, the population of the campus and her estimate of approximately 15,000 people who need menstrual resources on campus, the average use of approximately 10 products per period, she estimates that this would equate to 300 units per year and 150 units per six months.

Torres said the six-month period would give the university enough time to better understand what is really needed.

In Torres’ price breakdown, she explains how each unit would consist of 500 menstrual products and each unit would cost $125, or 25 cents per product.

Torres is expected to graduate in the fall and said she hopes to have a meeting with campus administration.

Torres said she has yet to receive a response to her January 2022 emails to ensure there is something more permanent from the university.

“Let’s hope that changes. I’m hoping someone is willing to meet me, and I’m trying to talk to [Jiménez-Sandoval] and pitch my ideas to him,” Torres said.

According to AB367, Fresno State is required to post information about men’s restroom locations in at least one men’s restroom, which the university has filled with multiple men’s restrooms.

Fresno State does not stock menstrual products in all-gender and unisex restrooms. The only products found are those stocked by Torres, which are not supplied by the State of Fresno.

On the Fresno State website, the locations listed for students to obtain menstrual products are listed as the Student Health Center, Cross-Cultural and Gender Center (CCGC), Student Closet, and Union of University Students (USU).

According to the CCGC, USU, and Student Cupboard offices, they all receive their menstrual products from different entities and often rely on donations, none of which are from Fresno State.

When asked, CCGC, USU and Student Cupboard did not know where Fresno State’s own locations for free menstrual products were located.

Although the Student Health and Counseling Center provides menstrual products from its pharmacy, they are not free.

The Collegian contacted Fresno State for comment, but no information was available at the time. A university spokesperson said there would be a response as soon as they had information.

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