Regents support expanded access to lactation spaces; campuses increase availability of menstrual products
The University of Colorado Board of Regents today formally stated its support for expanded access to lactation spaces across CU’s four campuses and system administration, as well as the pursuit of robust lactation policies exceeding all federal, state and local policies and guidelines.
In another ongoing effort addressing health and wellness needs across the university, CU’s campuses are taking action to make menstrual hygiene products more widely available in public restrooms. The endeavor follows the lead of state lawmakers who last year established a grant program to provide menstrual products at no expense to students in qualifying K-12 schools.
Rep. Brianna Titone, one of the House sponsors of the legislation, and Sen. Faith Winter, the Senate sponsor, praised the university’s actions.
“I am excited to see that the University of Colorado has made it a priority to ensure that its community has access to menstrual products as well as additional lactation spaces,” Titone said. “This is an example that I hope other universities in Colorado follow.”
Said Winter, “I applaud the University of Colorado for being a leader in this space by supporting access to both of these critical needs for its community members, building upon our legislation last year to improve access to menstrual products in K-12.”
Board members passed the resolution during their meeting at the University of Colorado Boulder. The action amplifies goals included in CU’s systemwide strategic plan as adopted by the regents, specifically lactation policy development and the creation of additional lactation spaces across the system.
“I’m committed to a people-first philosophy,” said Regent Callie Rennison, who also is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at CU Denver. “Expanding the availability of lactation facilities at our campuses is one meaningful way of acting on that philosophy, so I’m pleased our board is boosting this process. Our campus community members are engaged in that same spirit by taking the initiative to make menstrual products more accessible.”
The board resolution notes that dedicated lactation spaces and policies promote the health of parents and infants. Making the spaces available demonstrates the university’s support for parents who are students, faculty, staff or visitors to a CU campus.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, leading health organizations recommend infants receive breastmilk for the first six months of life to protect the health of the lactating parent and the infant.
In the workplace, lactation policies are expected to lower absenteeism, reduce turnover and increase the productivity of new parents.
“At CU, one of the many ways we value our community members is by supporting their health and wellness,” said CU President Todd Saliman. “The campuses are taking steps to make menstrual products available in more locations, which speaks to inclusion. And with today’s passage of a resolution, the Board of Regents reaffirms our commitment to our people. Our campuses are expanding the availability of lactation spaces, which help maintain a community that’s welcoming and inclusive of families.”
Here’s how CU campuses are providing access to private, comfortable lactation spaces:
University of Colorado Boulder: The campus has 18 lactation spaces, exceeding the 15 deemed necessary based on campus population. However, it also has identified the potential need for additional lactation spaces to increase availability in underserved areas of the campus. CU Boulder is completing a new campus lactation policy, which will be posted this spring.
University of Colorado Colorado Springs: The campus currently has three lactation spaces, with plans for the immediate construction of four more. Another 11 spaces are planned for construction in the next three years. UCCS is completing a new campus lactation policy, which will be posted this spring.
University of Colorado Denver: The campus goal is one lactation room in every CU Denver-owned building with more than 50 full-time occupants. There are currently eight lactation rooms in CU Denver-owned buildings and another nine rooms in buildings owned by the Auraria Higher Education Center and MSU Denver. CU Denver published a lactation policy in March 2021 and reviewed the policy in January 2022.
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus: The campus currently has 21 dedicated lactation spaces. By March, it will add another eight dedicated rooms in the Anschutz Health Sciences Building. The campus also will add Mamava Pods, freestanding lactation spaces, at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes. CU Anschutz published a lactation policy in March 2021 and reviewed the policy in January 2022.
Community members at all four campuses also are acting to make menstrual hygiene products more widely available in public restrooms.
Student government at CU Boulder, where the products are currently widely available, is leading a pilot project to expand availability into more locations. Student, staff and faculty governance groups at CU Colorado Springs are involved in a pilot project at four buildings. At CU Denver and CU Anschutz, where menstrual products currently are available in many restrooms, the campuses will stock the items in all women’s and gender-neutral restrooms by this summer.