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Free menstrual product campaign cancelled due to lack of funding says C3SVS

By Alexandra Holyk

The Ace Your Exams & Eliminate Period Poverty campaign organized by Ryerson’s Centre for Safer Sex & Sexual Violence Support (C3SVS) will not be running during this semester’s exam season, according to an Instagram post shared by the service centre.

The campaign provided students with free and accessible menstrual products during midterm and exam season.

Due to the recent termination of the agreement between Ryerson University and the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), the C3SVS stated on Instagram that they “simply do not currently have the funding to operate this campaign.”

Currently, all seven Equity Service Centres are run and funded by the RSU.

“The RSU has not received funding from the University since Fall of 2018; this includes funding for services that have been deemed ‘essential services” such as our centre, the Centre for Safer Sex & Sexual Violence Support,” C3SVS manager Sydney Bothwell said in an email to The Eyeopener.

“This has in-turn impacted our ability to have a fully staffed team, run programming…since early on in the Fall 2019 semester.”

In a statement on Feb. 20, McMillen said the university “initiated discussions with RSU” to create an interim agreement to preserve services including C3SVS.

“We were not consulted by any of the parties in regards to a potential Interim Service Agreement,” Bothwell said, adding that she does not think the campaign was not part of the discussion process.

Last semester, the centre held a campaign kick-off party in collaboration with Toronto Red Dot Project and the Help a Girl Out Charity, a non-profit that provides menstrual products to women in need.

There was also a Make-Your-Own Period “Survival” Kit station that invited students to fill powder bags with their choice of menstrual products including personal wipes, period underwear and mini chocolates.

“We had received an outpouring of support from students since we launched this campaign in 2018, and we were actively having conversations with different students, student groups, and stakeholders about the potential of running the campaign year-round,” said Bothwell.

The Eyeopener previously reported in January 2019 on visiting 102 washrooms in 14 buildings on campus after seeing sanitary napkin dispensers across campus were empty and that the university was not planning to restock. Seventy-one washrooms had no dispenser and 31 had an empty one still advertising prices ranging from 10 cents to a dollar. There were no signs on the machines indicating they were empty.

Bothwell said although the campaign won’t be running this semester, students can still stop by the centre’s office in the Student Campus Centre to pick up free menstrual health and safer sex supplies.

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