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New undergraduate senate reviews bill expanding access to menstrual products

May 17, 2022, 10:42 p.m.

Undergraduate senators reviewed a new bill that would increase campus-wide access to menstrual products at Tuesday’s meeting. The bill was presented by Senator Ritwik Tati ’25, who took inspiration from the University of California, Berkeley’s Coalition for the Institutionalization of Free Menstrual Product (CIFMP)

According to Tati, the University’s limited access to these items is in direct violation of their Institutional Equity and Access Policy. Currently, not all bathrooms on campus provide access to menstrual products, and “dispensers in those select bathrooms are rarely stocked on a consistent basis, and products are often low-quality,” according to the bill. More broadly, the bill also states that since California will now be requiring public schools to provide free menstrual products, Stanford should also be providing such amenities for free. 

In order to mitigate any financial strains on the University, Tati also recommended that the University forges business partnerships. The model would be similar to the one deployed at UC Berkeley — CIFMP partners with birth control delivery company Pandia Health to make menstrual products widely accessible to students at UC Berkeley. 

The senators will vote on the bill next week.

The University will likely continue to provide COVID-19 testing next year, according to newly-elected Senate Co-chair Amira Dehmani ’24. However, the University plans on limiting PCR testing and increasing rapid testing because of the latter’s efficiency, according to Dehmani. The news comes after Dehmani and Senate Co-chair Aden Beyne ’23 met with Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Sarah Church. According to Dehmani, Brubaker-Cole and Church both “insinuated that testing will be free next year,” but did not give an explicit answer. 

Cayla Withers ’24, who served on the 23rd Undergraduate Senate, presented a bill that would provide funding for on-ramp STEM courses to strengthen the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The bill is co-sponsored by physics and mechanical engineering professor Paul Mitiguy M.S. ’87, Ph.D. ’95, who teaches the on-ramp physics course Physics 40. 

Currently, some STEM departments lack programs that help students from less rigorous high schools gain the necessary skills to succeed for intro-level STEM courses. If the bill passes, then various departments will be able to use the funding as they see fit. The program will follow the successful examples in the physics department.

Withers envisions that compared to regular sections, these courses will “be more personalized for the students.” If the resolution passes, then students will also be allowed to take these courses for a letter grade and have even more substantial support to properly learn the material.

The senators will vote on the bill next week.

Senators also selected new officers in a closed session. Tati will serve as deputy senate chair. Mark Huerta ’24 will serve as appropriations chair. Joy Molloy ’25 will serve as communications chair. 

Donya Sarrafian ’23 was selected as treasurer while Gurmenjit Bahia ’24 was selected as Faculty Senate representative. Diego Kagurabadza ’25 will serve as Parliamentarian. 

Carolyn Stein is a Desk Editor for Campus Life and a co-Audience Engagement Editor. She is double majoring in communications and East Asian studies. Her favorite activity is going on unnecessarily long walks. Contact her at news 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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