Despite minor hiccup, OUSC provides free tampons, pads


Nowshin Chowdhury

OUSC has a tower of tampons and pads stored in the office to refill the baskets in the women’s restrooms.

On Feb. 6, the Oakland University Student Congress supplied all on-campus women’s restrooms with free tampons and pads. By Feb. 7, the feminine products were gone.

In the beginning of February, Margaret Merogi, OUSC’s director of Student Services, received a text message from a female student complaining about the availability of feminine products in the women’s restrooms.

Merogi set out to test the tampon and pad dispensers around campus, and almost all of the ones she tested proved to be broken or useless. She said this sparked an idea.

“The next day, I put it in my budget [to buy tampons and pads for OU students],” Merogi said.

OUSC was supportive of the decision.

By Feb. 6, all the restrooms had OUSC-funded baskets full of free tampons and pads. Merogi and Adam George, OUSC’s Financial Affairs director, handled all the orders from Sam’s Club.

The following day, however, when Merogi went to refill the baskets in the Oakland Center bathrooms, the tampons, pads and baskets were removed.

Merogi said a friendly janitor informed her that the products needed approval before any sort of distribution.

“It was a misunderstanding,” Merogi said.

She didn’t know approval was necessary, but it is required so maintenance staff isn’t found accountable for the condition of the products.

Approval wasn’t hard to get. A week later, on Feb. 13, the tampons and pads were redistributed to the women’s restrooms of the Oakland Center. However, there was no time to get approval for product distribution in restrooms in the other on-campus buildings before spring break, according to Merogi.

For now, the tampons and pads rest in the OUSC office, 62 Oakland Center. OUSC has a supply of feminine products large enough to last the rest of the semester.

“We call it the ‘Tampon Tower,’” Merogi said. “Boxes upon boxes upon boxes are sitting in our office, waiting until we get approval.”

Prior to approval, concerns about whether women will be disrespectful of this new arrangement were presented to Merogi. She is hopeful that women will not take advantage of the free products.

“I believe in women,” she said. “There are going to be a few who take the whole basket — I’m aware of that. I honestly believe [women] will be respectful.”

The “Tampon Tower” distribution is a classic example of how OUSC Student Services work, Merogi said. A student’s concern becomes a priority, and those who reach out are heard.

If feminine products in a particular restroom are running low or if there are any other concerns, Merogi urges students to contact OUSC’s text-suggestion number at (248) 957-1665 or email her directly at [email protected].