Arlington, TX – The Progressive Student Union (PSU) presented a set of demands to the interim Vice President of Student Affairs Teresa Madden, on February 24. The group was successful in securing agreement on the first three demands but was unable to get a commitment on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs currently under threat.
The demands presented to Madden were the result of months of research, collaboration and consultation with other student organizations and community groups. They are as follows:
1. All buildings will have menstrual healthcare product dispensers, with quality menstrual healthcare products, purchased by the administration of Jennifer Evans Cowley directly, and have them properly installed prior to 2024.
2. UTA will expand menstrual product accessibility to all women’s bathrooms, all gender-neutral bathrooms, and start rolling out in men’s bathrooms via dispensers prior to 2024. In addition, UTA will increase, by threefold, the amount of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
3. The maintenance and restocking of these dispensers will be shouldered by the actual direct administration of UTA, and not mainly shouldered by the departments or volunteers directly as has been the case since fall 2021.
4. UTA will protect the rights of trans athletes on campus to be part of the teams that reflect their gender identity, and do more to make social transition easier on campus.
5. UTA will consistently secure funding and protect the DEI program and all related institutions involving diversity, e.g. student organizations, ethnic study programs, and LGBTQ+ inclusion programs, rather than cut or defund these programs in face of attacks.
The group’s main objective was to secure the victory for free high quality menstrual products and to make trans and non-binary people safe on campus.
Madden agreed to the first three demands but was unable to make any promises or statements on the DEI programs currently under threat. The university is currently facing budget cuts, and the DEI programs are at risk of being reduced or eliminated.
The Progressive Student Union expressed disappointment with the administration’s response but remained determined to continue their advocacy efforts. The group plans to escalate their actions and continue to mobilize support from the student body and the wider community.
In conclusion, the PSU’s demands represent a crucial step in addressing the systemic inequalities and injustices that exist in higher education. The group’s efforts are a testament to the power of student activism and the need for continued advocacy to create a more just and equitable society.