After numerous delays, OU administration approves installation of feminine hygiene dispensers

Photo+of+menstrual+products+in+the+OUSC+office.+Products+include%2C+10+dispensers+and+20+boxes+containing+10%2C000+menstrual+pads+and+tampons.+

Arianna Heyman

Photo of menstrual products in the OUSC office. Products include, 10 dispensers and 20 boxes containing 10,000 menstrual pads and tampons.

Arianna Heyman, Features Editor

Following subsequent delays, miscommunication and scheduling setbacks between Oakland University’s Student Congress (OUSC) and OU’S administration — the administration has finally approved the installation of feminine hygiene dispensers on campus. 

As reported by the Post in April 2022, OUSC and OU’s administration reached an agreement to distribute free menstrual products on campus. 

Products were already available in the Oakland Center and at desks in student housing, but this was an expansion of OUSC’s menstrual product initiative. 

The original agreement was that dispensers would be installed in the Kresge Library, Pawley Hall, Elliott Hall and the Human Health Building. 

Since spring, those plans have changed. Now dispensers will only be available in the Kresge Library, Recreation Center and the Oakland Center. 

“Vice President McIntosh [said] if you want to do all these buildings — it would be too expensive to have a dispenser in every bathroom,” OUSC Vice President Murryum Farooqi said. “It was either lower the amount of buildings or have them in a lot of buildings, but it’s not every bathroom.” 

Farooqi says this plan would have been too confusing for students because they would not always know which bathroom contained the free products.

After months of collecting menstrual products and dispensers, OUSC submitted a work order to the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) this past July at the direction of McIntosh. 

“If it’s a work order and they’re a student organization, typically, we want them to work with the OSI department and they put in a work order,” McIntosh said. “Normally, if it’s a work order going to facilities, it’s not typical for students to put in a work order.” 

OUSC President Andrew Romano and Farooqi stated that their request for a work order was approved this past July and they were asked to do a “walk through” with maintenance staff to discuss locations for the dispensers. 

“We were told [maintenance staff] should be contacting you — and they didn’t,” Farooqi said. “Then we asked VP McIntosh and the answer was there was a ‘backlog’ because of so many projects going on.”

Between July and last week, OUSC and Jean Ann Miller, senior director of OSI, did not know approval was needed from the finance and administration department for the installation of dispensers to occur. 

The discovery was made last week by Miller who relayed the information to Romano and Farooqi. 

“She didn’t realize that she had to go through finance and administration,” Romano said. “I remember being like, ‘what?’”

Miller says that anyone who submits a work order must go through finance and administration because their department is in charge of structure, plumbing, grounds and electricity. 

“It was some misunderstanding or miscommunication of the approval process and that it needed to go a step further than we were all aware of,” Miller said. “I took care of that last week, and over the weekend it was approved. It’s totally innocent — there was no intention of not having this happen.”

Romano states that to Miller’s credit, the process of getting approval has been like a game of telephone for everyone involved. 

“It shouldn’t be a game of telephone to do projects for OU,” Romano said.

Miller assured the Post that OUSC would be hearing from a maintenance foreman shortly. 

“The person is going to be making the contact with them to proceed in getting the dispensers installed,” she said. 

According to Romano and Farooqi, the biggest problem they have faced is the overall disappointment from students seeking the products. 

“We promised students we would have them in before fall and now,” Farooqi said. “Because of whatever combination of reasons –– it didn’t happen and it’s just confusing”