ASI Senate moves to provide menstrual products

The Associated Students, Inc. Senate passed the first reading of a resolution that requires all campus restrooms to provide free menstrual hygiene materials.

Senator-at-large Daniel Gomez and ASI Vice President Logan Vournas co-authored the resolution, called the Affordable Feminine Hygiene Act.

Gomez addressed the issues of students having to makeshift their own pads in the restroom and having to pay for their menstrual care products.

“There are many times people had to ‘Macgyver’ a pad, which is when they had to use toilet paper as a type of pad,” Gomez said. “[At] the [University Student Union] Corner Market, you have to pay $3 for feminine care products. To make [the products] free or somewhat affordable, we’d like to ideally put them in the restrooms.”

Vournas emphasized the need for all restrooms to have such products during the Senate meeting.

“Our transgender and gender non-binary students who may use a male restroom would still need to use pads and tampons,” Vournas said.

The resolution implements an assembly bill, authored by California assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, which also focuses on feminine hygiene care. The bill requires public and private university bathrooms in California to be stocked with feminine hygiene products.

“This issue is long overdue,” Gomez said.

Cal State Long Beach has already implemented condom dispensers in campus restrooms.

Earlier in the meeting, student athletes voiced their frustrations with the Resolution to Reevaluate the Beach Pride Referendum during public comments. These concerns were later addressed and corrected by Vournas.

The resolution would put the Beach Pride Referendum back on the ballot. Currently, the Beach Pride fee is allocated toward the athletics department. The ASI Senate wants to let the students decide whether the fees should remain with the athletic department or be reallocated toward different channels. There was discussion that the funding would be pulled completely from athletics, which would not happen under the ballot initiative, nor happen in full.

The audience seating was overflowed with athletes, and many of them had to sit on the floor or stand by the walls.

Men’s volleyball player Amir Lugo-Rodriguez asked if the ASI Senate could vote against the passing of the resolution.

“This could potentially change the way we receive support for our students,” Lugo-Rodriguez said. “We would have loved the courtesy of being talked to or informed about [the resolution] at an earlier time.” Praising “mmhmms” and groans were immediately exerted by the crowd.

Softball player Rachel Loera spoke to the Senate of the financial hardships of many student-athletes.

“A common misconception people think is that most athletes come here on a full ride,” Loera said. “I had the opportunity to come to Long Beach State even though it was going to be financially hard on my family. I have to take out student loans … and have to juggle softball, school, work and studying and get minimal sleep.”

During the reading of the resolution, Vournas said that the student-athletes have been misinformed of the intent of the resolution.

“Three weeks ago, Marvin and I met with Cindy Masner, Interim Athletics Director, and we gave her a copy of the resolution and talked about the resolution with her,” Vournas said. “It’s unfortunate that the student-athletes seem to be misguided on what this resolution actually does. I’m going to make it a priority of mine to make sure that this resolution is transparent.”

A change was made to a portion of the resolution that called for the CSULB Board of Directors to urge the Student Fee Advisory Committee to conduct an electronic vote of the student body in regards to the referendum in the 2017.

College of Health and Human Services Senator Joe Nino agreed with Vournas.

“I think there’s a misconception as to what this  resolution does,” Nino said. “It basically gives a voice back to the students and let them decide.”

The ASI Senate approved the resolution for its third and final reading.

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