City to offer free tampons, pads in city restrooms

By The Associated Press

WEST LAFAYETTE — West Lafayette will start supplying free feminine hygiene products in all city building restrooms, including men's and gender-neutral restrooms.

The decision came after Purdue University's move to offer an assortment of menstrual care products for free in campus bathrooms.

After the City Council approved a similar resolution, Mayor John Dennis said West Lafayette was ready to start stocking feminine products in all restrooms in city facilities, including the $31.5 million Wellness and Aquatic Center scheduled to open in early 2021, the Journal and Courier reported.

City Council members Shannon King and Kathy Parker sponsored the resolution.

“The mayor gave us a thumbs up, and he really had our back,” King said.

During a pilot project in restrooms at Purdue's Psychological Sciences building, the faculty-led University Senate found that the building averaged $27 a month to restock menstrual care products used from seven dispensers — and the number of products used when they were free was essentially the same as to when they needed to be purchased with loose change.

The estimated cost for West Lafayette wasn't immediately available.

“I never thought in a million years I'd be anywhere talking in public about this kind of thing,” Parker said. “But it only makes sense. We supply toilet paper, right? This is a basic need, too.”

Kang said she and Parker are “just looking out for other women.”

“Let's be that city that recognizes the need for an end of the period stigma,” Kang said.

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