SGA’s phased approach to sexual health assistance on campus

The student government association began a sexual health program to promote frequent testing and provide students with free feminine products.


Courtesy of Instagram

SGA President Jamera Forbes and Vice President Dai’Shona Jones poses with the feminine products shared on campus through the new sexual health program.

Ashlyn J. Wilson, Staff Writer

According to BMC Women’s Health, 10 percent of college students and 20 percent of first-generation college students experience period poverty each month in the U.S.

Period poverty is inadequate access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, waste management or a combination of all of these, according to Medical News Today.

This statistic was very important to Morgan State University’s student government association in the launch of their sexual health campaign.

At the start of the spring semester, the SGA implemented a sexual health to provide students with access to feminine hygiene products, STD and STI tests and contraceptives. 

The initiative began with former SGA President Alex Freeman, as a part of the 2020-2021 UP Next campaign with former Vice President Simone Lonas. 

“The former SGA president Alex Freeman also started an initiative to do free feminine products on campus,” said SGA President Jamera Forbes. “And I saw how great of an impact that was. So, we thought that it would be important for us to actually continue it while we’re on campus.”

The first phase of the sexual health initiative began last semester when the SGA provided trucks for students to receive STI, STD and HIV screenings on campus. 

Forbes plans to provide another testing truck at the end of this month. 

Furthermore, students with Morgan State University insurance can receive testing at the University Health Center for free. Students without Morgan’s insurance can test for ten dollars. 

As a part of the initiative’s second phase SGA is collaborating with Kim McCalla, associate vice president of facilities and design, for funding to install metal dispensers in the women’s restroom and feminine hygiene products more efficiently. 

The restrooms currently have small baskets where students can take feminine products as needed.

Forbes, SGA Vice President Dai’Shona Jones and SGA Chief Justice Niama Debrest currently have the responsibility of refilling the products for students. With the new implementation, housekeeping would be responsible for refilling the dispensers.

“The purpose of us doing it would be so people can have free feminine products. So, the machines would more so just be to make it look more aesthetically pleasing and organized…” said Forbes. “With baskets just sitting out, it’s easier for students to just grab them as a whole, and take them granted, if they need them or not.”

Students can find these products in the restrooms of Holmes Hall, the University Student Center, Blount Towers, Communications Center, Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS), University Health Center and Behavioral Social Sciences Center (BSSC).  

Dejah King, a senior business major, said this initiative is beneficial for college students who are not able to afford the monthly costs of feminine products as it provides students without transportation access to free necessities.

“I think a lot of girls don’t have access to buy the products because sometimes they can get pricey,” said King. “Also, with being a younger college student, you may not have a car to go and purchase the product. So, the fact that [products] are just readily available in our restrooms is very beneficial.” 

The third phase of this program will offer contraceptives and condoms. SGA is currently looking for a vendor that will permanently sponsor the products for the University.

Forbes hopes this initiative will encourage students to stay informed about the resources available on campus. 

“I really hope that people will continue to do more research and learn about different STDs and STIs and the certain ways to prevent that and also ways that they can take steps ahead,” said Forbes.

“In regarding our initiative, I personally think that it actually is taking greater steps to lower the rates at Morgan State because we’re making it more common on campus to go get tested and we’re letting them know you do have resources,” Forbes said. 

This sexual health initiative is in collaboration with the University Health Center.  In an effort to keep this program active, SGA is looking for partnerships outside of the University Health Center to continue providing free feminine care.

After numerous attempts, the University Health Center did not respond to the Spokesman for a comment.