Over the past year and a half, Facilities have removed tampon dispensers from a handful of womens bathrooms across campus, catching the eye of a handful of female professors.
Facilities cites a general lack of use as the main reason for the removal of most of these dispensers on campus.
“We started removing them probably a year and a half ago, just whenever we were in the area doing a remodel or repainting,” said Jeff Tuttle, associate director of facilities operations and maintenance.
“A lot of them were in disrepair, rusted or dented, but the main reason is just… they just weren’t being used,” Tuttle said. “I think the last time we visited any of the machines was over a year ago and very little product had been used out of the dispensers.”
However, some professors have taken issue with their removal.
“This is a big mistake because I think as a co-ed, residential facility they should put tampons at least in all the class room buildings and all the office buildings,” said Suzanne Lovett, associate professor of psychology.
Upon realizing that tampon dispensers had been removed from Kanbar Hall, Lovett filed complaints with facilities and informed Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster that the dispensers had begun disappearing from campus bathrooms. Shortly after, the dispensers were reinstalled in Kanbar.
“Obviously if there is a need or compelling reason for us to put them in to select locations that we hear about, of course we would accommodate that,” Tuttle said, adding that there were still dispensers in Searles and a few other campus locations as well.
“I would hate for a student to have to leave class for that session because there wasn’t anything in the local bathroom,” Lovett said.
Sophomore Meredith Christian, agreed, saying the dispensers are valuable, despite infrequent use.
“I rarely use them, but I’m always happy to see them when I need one,” Christian said.
Tricia Welsch, associate professor of film studies, also notes that the absence of the dispensers, however underutilized, has been felt. “I happened to notice there is nothing on [Sills first floor],” said Welsch.
“The only perspective I have is that is seems like a mistake to remove such things,” Welsch said. “Whether people use them a lot or a little doesn’t matter. If you need one in an emergency you want it to be there.”
When asked about the dispensers’ infrequent use, sophomore Hannah LeBlanc cited the availability of tampons on campus by other means than the machines.
“Nobody brings quarters and not tampons so when you ask a friend, ‘do you have a quarter?’ you could just as easily say, ‘do you have a tampon?’”