Cerritos College needs to put free period products in the bathrooms!

This+is+a+photo+of+a+Tampax+product+in+a+store+and+was+posted+by+Province+of+British+Columbia.+

Province of British Columbia/Creative Commons

This is a photo of a Tampax product in a store and was posted by Province of British Columbia.

Zuleima Arquieta and Amy Parker

It’s Monday, and your week just started. You’re late for class, and you just sat down for your lab, only to be met with the cramps you are all too familiar with.

If you weren’t going to prepare for period week this morning, you definitely will have to now. The question is, where exactly are you going to get the products you need?

Cerritos College is required by state law to have free period products made available to students at no cost. Currently, there are free products in the Falcon’s Nest, women’s locker rooms, and the Student Health Services building.

These are on the eastern side of campus, though – students have to walk between ⅓ and ½ of a mile each way to reach their closest free products station.

In April 2023, I got passed a resolution to increase students’ knowledge of their menstrual rights (through the creation of state-mandated signage) while also advocating for free menstrual products to be made available in all campus bathrooms, where they currently cost 25 cents.

This proposition was warmly received and was voted in favor unanimously through the ASCC Cabinet and Senate.

Student leaders hoped that the college would follow the resolution, providing free products in the bathrooms and implementing state-mandated signage. Unfortunately, the college administration has refused to act.

Sadly though, neither objective was achieved. What ended up happening was a long stall of communication between Executive Vice President Felipe Lopez and Director Parker.

Lopez continually stated that products were available in the aforementioned locations and that those locations should be sufficient, despite knowing the distance students had to walk and the impacts it could have on them.

The signs also did not meet state law requirements. They needed to let students know that they are legally entitled to have menstrual products available to them at no cost. Instead, the posters on the bathrooms made it seem as if it were a complimentary service of the college.

This generally is not viable for students, who have to walk all the way across campus in emergencies.

They then have to make it back in time, all while often dealing with severe pain and cramps. They may also end up causing damage to their attire or themselves by not having the products in time.

Students also need to be able to change their products regularly, and if they are not able to – for instance, because the free products are too far away – they may suffer from toxic shock syndrome.

When someone is actively menstruating, they cannot simply put it on pause and walk across campus just to receive the products that they need.

The point of the resolution was to make it easier for the students to be able to help themselves in these precarious situations. The signs alongside the free products were what was requested by students in the resolution.

What students asked for in the resolution was clear: for free menstrual products to be incorporated into school bathrooms, alongside a clear poster letting them know of their legal right to said free products.

Cerritos College should pride itself in being able to care for its students and lead with pride on matters such as these.

Now more than ever, it is critical that Cerritos College puts forth these measures to have them ready for the incoming class of 2023 this fall and for students this summer.

It’s time to put pressure on the college administration and get them to act, to care, and to do their jobs for students.