Graphic content warning: This story contains an image which some might find shocking
A New Zealand university has confiscated a student magazine over its "offensive" menstruation theme - and people are seeing red.
Staff from Otago University seized more than 500 copies of Critic Te Arohi, over fears that its cover was "objectionable to many people".
The cover featured a cartoon of a supine figure with legs spread, bleeding from the genitals.
Editor Joel MacManus said he was initially unaware of the issue's fate, and spent Tuesday seeking CCTV footage.
The copies had in fact been dumped in a bin by Campus Watch - a team charged with maintaining "a safe and secure Campus environment" - overnight on Monday.
The move caused consternation on social media, with one student tweeting: "Menstruation is not shameful. Suppression of student voices is."
Menstruation is not shameful. Suppression of student voices is. Whatever you reckoned about the @CriticTeArohi cover, its removal from campus was some bs. Heaps of posters around campus this morning #OnlyOtago #freespeech pic.twitter.com/QnDkLlfr6n— Mr Lomax-Sawyers (@izzyelle) May 22, 2018
My old university, @otago, never stops teaching me even though I graduated ten years ago. Today I learned that menstruation is disgusting and should never be discussed in public, to the point that any material trying to do so must be seized and destroyed— chrise 🐓 (@Lukeurmyson) May 22, 2018
"We consider this censorship, something that goes against everything a university should stand for," Mr MacManus said.
He said the decision was especially baffling as Otago University's vice chancellor Harlene Hayne had emailed him saying, "I did want to let you know that this week's issue of the Critic is particularly good."
The university said the proctor's office had decided to remove all the magazines, after the public library and hospital in Dunasked for them to be taken out of their foyers.
It said the "assumption" was made "as the university is also a public place, where non-students regularly pass through".
Saskia Rushton-Green, the illustrator who designed the cover, said she never intended the piece to be "degrading to women/anyone who bleeds from their vagina", adding, "I hope some people find it empowering."
Mr MacManus said the special issue had been produced at the suggestion of the Otago Womens+ Club, and "touched on a number of very important issues about period poverty and trans issues, as well as breaking taboos about a bodily function that half the population experience".
The editor-in-chief of New Zealand news outlet Stuff, himself a former editor of Critic, condemned the university for "acting as secret censors".
Of the cover, illustrator Saskia Rushton-Green said: "I certainly never intended this piece to be degrading to women/anyone who bleeds from their vagina, in fact I hope some people find it empowering."— Patrick Crewdson (@PatrickCrewdson) May 22, 2018
In a second statement, Otago said "actions that were taken here are regrettable", and called removing the magazines a "mistake".
Critic later tweeted that it had received an "unreserved apology" from the varsity's proctor.
Critic has received an unreserved apology from the Proctor for the removal of issues from campus by Campus Watch staff, which we have accepted.— Critic (@CriticTeArohi) May 23, 2018
We've suggested to the University that a donation of free sanitary products for students would be a positive outcome for moving forward.