Columbia Health will once again offer free tampons and pads on the third and fourth floors of John Jay Hall, just a week after it discontinued a distribution pilot program at the start of this semester.
The move was announced in a statement on Columbia College Student Council's Facebook page early Sunday afternoon, after CCSC received an email from Associate Vice President and Medical Director Melanie Bernitz that the program had been reinstated.
CCSC President Nicole Allicock, CC '18, CCSC Vice President for Policy Abby Porter, CC '17, and Engineering Student Council President Neha Jain, SEAS '17, met with Vice President for Campus Services Scott Wright and Bernitz earlier this week to make the case that tampons and pads should be available to support low-income students and students in emergency situations.
The program had been cancelled because fewer students requested tampons or pads than expected, according to an email Porter received from Wright last week. Between the program's debut on March 21 and the end of the spring semester, 137 students claimed 200 pads and 615 tampons. But to Allicock, having them available for students is critical regardless of how often they are used.
"Even if only fifty students picked them up, we still consider this a priority, because if you're in that situation where you're choosing between food and tampons, and this is a program we could have, then why would we not have it?" Allicock said in an interview with Spectator.
Before the pilot program was implemented, students could request tampons or pads from the desk of Medical services on the fourth floor of John Jay. Now, Health will once again stock tampons and pads in a waiting room cabinet on the third floor, as it did during the pilot program.
A University spokesperson said that Columbia Health administrators will continue to meet with CCSC representatives to discuss student needs in an email sent to Spectator on Thursday. CCSC leaders said they plan to work with Health to make tampons and pads available in on-campus restrooms and residence halls.
Correction, Sep. 18: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that CCSC received the email from Vice President for Campus Services Scott Wright.