EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – An elected representative and school administrators are condemning an act of vandalism in a Southern Illinois University bathroom. Earlier this year House Bill 641 established that all campus restrooms should be stocked with menstrual hygiene products. There were several incidents in October where the products were thrown away or tampered with.
The Bias Incident Response Team at SIUE says that they notified faculty, students, and staff that incidents like this are transphobic. Since the message went out they have been getting tips about more incidents.
A student has admitted to dumping the menstrual hygiene products into the men’s room trash can. This is considered an act of vandalism and a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The student is now facing discipline that includes educational sanctions.
State Representative Katie Stuart:
“I am infuriated and disgusted by the display of bigotry and cowardice shown by a small group on the campus at SIUE. Instead of using compassion, the individuals involved attempted to stoke fear through vandalism.
This is why I work toward menstrual equity. I sponsored House Bill 641, which requires all college campuses to provide free menstrual hygiene products in all of the restrooms within campus boundaries, which was signed into law in the summer. Period products are necessary items, like soap and toilet paper, that should be easily accessible to anyone who needs them.
If the sight of a tampon or pad fills someone with so much rage they have to resort to such immature extremes, that is more evidence that menstruation has to come out of the shadows and whispers and be recognized as the natural biological function it is.”State Representative Katie Stuart
SIUE’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Dr. Jessica Harris states:
“The availability of menstrual hygiene products in all public restrooms on our campus is not only consistent with our responsibilities under state law, it also reflects our understanding that menstrual stigma and period poverty can hit transgender and non-binary people particularly hard. To ensure that all persons feel safe using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, there must be access to free menstrual hygiene products in all campus restrooms.
Denying access to menstrual hygiene products to anyone who needs them is denying them part of their dignity. Destroying or tampering with the menstrual products in campus restrooms violates our community standards and persons found responsible will face discipline. We ask for your vigilance in observing and reporting any future incidents.”Dr. Jessica Harris
“I just think it’s so disrespectful that someone would go out of their way to destroy tampons or destroy pads when it’s like, it’s not for you, it’s for someone who needs it,” SIUE student Amanda Wayman said.
Much of the supplies have been donated by The Mensi Project.
An initiative started in 2018 by SIUE English and Women’s Studies Instructor, Christy Ferguson, who after having a hysterectomy donated menstrual products.
The project took off and has been supplying products for years on campus bathrooms.