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University Senate discusses resolutions on free tampons, food/housing security

Resolutions proposed would bring free sanitary products to campus, allow for students to mark their gender as "x" on all university forms and would open up the conversation for food/housing insecurity among students.

Posted: Jan 27, 2020 9:16 PM
Updated: Jan 27, 2020 9:35 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Purdue University Senate Equity and Diversity Committee proposed several resolutions at it's January meeting.

The first one discussed would put free sanitary products in all campus women's and gender neutral bathrooms. The plan is to convert all the pay dispensaries so that female students wouldn't have to pay for their menstruation needs. There was also discussion about putting out baskets of free products.

Professor Audrey Ruple is the head of the Senate's Equity and Diversity Committee. She said it would cost $20 to $70 to convert all 450 dispensaries on campus, bringing the total cost to about $30,000.

"Considering it's a sanitary product just like a hygienic product like toilet paper, it doesn't really make sense that we would toilet paper but not provide sanitary products," she said.

The Psychological Sciences building already provides free sanitary products in its bathrooms. She said during her speech that they only pay about $27 a month on stocking supplies.

Students said they would be in full support of this effort.

"I think it's a good idea especially because there are so many buildings there's a lot going on and just making sure that everyone is going to be take care of," said sophomore Vanshika Ramesh.
"Not everyone can afford it especially in university," added Anjali Murali, also a sophomore. "You're already paying for books and tuition and maybe a dorm or an apartment and those expenses add up."

The official vote on this resolution will happen at the February meeting.

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The Equity and Diversity Committee is also looking to allow students to mark their gender with an "x" on all university forms.

This would put Purdue on par with the state. Indiana became the 6th state to offer non-specific gender options for licenses and ID's. This change happened in March of last year.

"This is telling Purdue's non-binary students that they are accepted for how they identify," said Ruple.

The resolution specifies that this "x" option would be available on all physical or electronic forms for the university, which includes forms for both students, faculty and staff.
This resolution will also be officially voted on in February.

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One resolution proposed by the committee tonight was passed unanimously without a second reading. This resolution deals with basic needs security, which means food and housing insecurity.

The resolution allows professors to put a statement on their syllabus urging students dealing with these issues to contact the Dean of Students for support. On campus resources include the ACE food pantry located on campus.

The American Association of Colleges and Universities found that 61% of students at four-year institutions struggles with food/housing insecurity or even homelessness in 2018.

Dr. Katie Sermersheim from the Dean of Students office spoke at the meeting, saying she and her colleagues support this effort.

This resolution will now head to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

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