New Zealand: Student magazine destroyed over cover

18 June 2018
University of Otago staff destroyed hundreds of copies of a student magazine after external members and organisations deemed the cover offensive.
Image: Cover of destroyed magazine / Critic-Te Arohi Facebook


On 7 May 2018, staff from the University of Otago destroyed hundreds of copies of the menstruation issue of a student magazine titled Critic—Te Arohi, citing that the issue’s cover, designed by Saskia Rushton-Green, was deemed offensive by external community members and organizations, reported The New Zealand Herald.

The cover art displays a non-gendered individual menstruating on the bathroom floor while smiling and flashing the viewer a thumbs-up. According to Rushton-Green, the intent of the image was to depict the process of menstruation in a positive way and “how people who bleed are pulling through with a smile and a thumbs up, even when they feel really gross”, writes Stuff.

Notably, 12 years prior to this incident, an issue of Critic was banned from the campus due to claims that the student team had published ‘objectionable material’. However, the magazine’s editor, Joel McManus, was adamant in declaring that he did not believe “anything in this issue would meet those standards”, reported The New Zealand Herald.

The University of Otago Proctor has since apologised to McManus for the destruction of the issue, calling the event “regrettable”. A spokesperson for the proctor’s office went on to explain that the cause of the incident was not at the fault of the university but rather, was the result of “incorrect assumption by staff independently in the proctor’s office”, reported Stuff on 23 May 2018.

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