UNM students push to get feminine hygiene products back in campus restrooms

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In most women’s restrooms, there’s more than just sinks and stalls. There are often dispensers for feminine hygiene products. However, the dispensers at the University of New Mexico aren’t working the way they should be.

“The dispensers are there in the bathroom but they hadn’t been maintained very well,” said Sally Midani, Vice President of the Associated Students of UNM.

Most of the dispensers in the woman’s bathrooms are run down, empty, and wide open. Some are so dated, the price is just 10 cents.

UNM said the dispensers have not been in working order or maintained for the last 25 years in many of the buildings, including Zimmerman Library and Johnson Center. Officials said the main reason was because of repeated vandalism and theft.

“A lot of students have shown interest — especially female students on campus — in making sure that the bathrooms are maintained with feminine hygiene products,” said Midani.

The Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) just passed a resolution to push the school to get the dilapidated dispensers back up to par in the library, Johnson Center and the Student Union Building.

The resolution states, “the need for personal hygiene products is a necessity to the health of these students.”

“A lot of times for students that are in the library working on homework or studying really late at night, there’s not really anywhere convenient they can go,” said Midani.

Students think it’s a good idea.

“I really believe that women’s health is, should be, a priority,” said UNM student Victoria Lawton-Diez.

The director of Recreational Services posted a letter outside all women’s restrooms in Johnson Center after receiving ASUNM’s resolution. In it, he apologized for the inconvenience and failure to provide tampon dispensers.

UNM released the following statements regarding the dispensers not being maintained.

“Due to repeated vandalism and theft, Johnson Center management decided to stop stocking the feminine hygiene dispensers about 25 years ago. However, the students, through their voice in ASUNM, have made it clear they want us to stock the dispensers again, and Recreational Services will honor that. We’ve already ordered new dispensers, which will replace the outdated ones in the women’s bathrooms.”

– James Todd, Director of UNM Recreational Services


“The Physical Plant Department does not maintain restrooms in Johnson Center or the Student Union Building. PPD has removed a few old feminine hygiene product dispensers in various buildings over the last several years due to vandalism, and have not stocked or maintained them for at least 20-25 years, as far as I can tell. The previous Custodial Services contractor, Sodexo (contract ended in 2012), attempted to maintain these dispensers in the early 2000s as a revenue generating scheme, but stopped doing so due to theft of the machines and vandalism. Handling cash, which would be required to maintain these machines has been a deterrent for PPD, because we do not want to have staff to be responsible for carrying and collecting cash.”

-Al Sena, Director of UNM Physical Plant Department

James Todd with Recreational Services is the only one so far to work on implementing what the students are asking for. He has already ordered new dispensers and plans to have them installed as soon as possible.

ASUNM Vice President Sally Midani said the hope for the future is to have functioning dispensers in all women’s restrooms on campus.


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