Arlington, TX – The Progressive Student Union (PSU) presented a set of demands to Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Teresa Madden on February 24th. The group was successful in reaching agreement on the first three demands, but was unable to secure a commitment on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs that are currently under threat.
The requirements 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 health product dispensers, with quality menstrual products, purchased by the administration of Jennifer Evans Cowley directly, and have them properly installed by 2024.
2. UTA will expand menstrual product availability to all women’s bathrooms, all gender-neutral bathrooms, and begin rolling out to men’s bathrooms via dispensers before 2024. In addition, UTA will triple the amount of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
3. Maintenance and refilling of these dispensers will be done by the actual direct administration of UTA, and not mainly by the departments or volunteers directly as has been the case since autumn 2021.
4. UTA will protect the rights of trans athletes on campus to be part of teams that reflect their gender identity, and do more to facilitate social transition on campus.
5. UTA will consistently secure funding and protect the DEI program and all related institutions involving diversity, e.g. student organizations, ethnic studies programs, and LGBTQ+ inclusion programs, rather than cutting or defunding these programs in the face of attacks.
The group’s main goals were 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 about the DEI programs currently under threat. The university is currently facing budget cuts, and the DEI programs are in danger of being reduced or eliminated.
The Progressive Student Union expressed disappointment with the administration’s response, but remained determined to continue its advocacy efforts. The group plans to escalate its actions and continue to mobilize support from the student body and the wider community.
In conclusion, PSU’s demands represent a crucial step in addressing the systemic inequities 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 injunction to create a more just and equitable society.