Is this menstruation cartoon on the cover of Otago Uni's student mag 'degrading' to women? Editor says no, Uni bosses order it to be binned

Otago University students are outraged after university staff threw out hundreds of copies of this week's student magazine because the cover showed a person menstruating.

The controversial menstruation cover of student magazine Critic. Source: Supplied

Critic - Te Arohi editor Joel MacManus said he was not warned of the university's decision, which he's describing as censorship.

"We're strongly independent and it really feels like that independence has been taken away from us if the university is going to destroy issues of our publication," he said.

"I'm incredibly disappointed they didn't come to us first."

Otago University said when proctor Dave Scott was told the magazine had been removed from the public library and Dunedin Hospital, he asked security staff to remove it from the stands on campus as well.

"The Proctor understood that the reason copies of this week's issue had been removed from public places, was that the cover was objectionable to many people, including children who potentially might be exposed to it," a spokeswoman wrote.

She said it was "regrettable" around 500 copies of the magazine couldn't be recovered from the skip.

"The university has no official view on the content of this week's magazine. However, the university is aware that university staff members, and members of the public, have expressed an opinion that the cover of this issue was degrading to women," she said.

"[That's] incorrect," said Mr MacManus because he had received no complaints.

"We are a member of the Press Council and open to all the same complaints as any other publication," he said.

Otago University (file picture). Source:

"I think they've extolled one person's morality on the entire student body... I don't think it was insensitive, pornographic... someone thought it was just a bit yucky."

The menstruation issue's entire content and vision was conceived by the Women's+ Club Otago to cover period poverty, taboos, and trans issues, he said.

Every article was written by women or non-binary people, and the cover artist was also a woman.

On Critic - Te Arohi's Facebook page, one person wrote, "this is blatantly saying that women's bodies hold no place in public spaces".

"The reason this makes people uncomfortable is because of the lack of conversation, understanding and knowledge about periods. Censoring women's health issues only makes people feel more shameful when discussing them, and teaches young girls that it's something to be embarrassed of. University of Otago should be ashamed of this censorship and demonstration of disregard for women's health."