After tampons and pads were thrown away and feces was found in a menstrual product receptacle in the men’s bathroom on the first floor of David Saul Smith Union last week, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) altered the placards placed next to the dispensers to clarify their purpose. The College is continuing to investigate the incident.
Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols said in an email to the Orient that Security had made “good progress” and that their investigation was still ongoing. He confirmed that there have been no further incidents since feces were found in the receptacle on March 29 but declined to comment further.
In an email to the student body on Monday, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Allen Delong and Director of the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity Kate Stern spoke of the administration’s support for the Free Flow project and reminded students not to “deface or damage dispensers, receptacles, and other sanitary items.” Individuals who were unsure about the purpose of the items were encouraged to reach out to Stern in order to understand why trans* students might need menstruation products.
BSG’s new signs likewise hope to educate bathroom users. The signs now read: “We realize that many men on campus do not and will not need pads or tampons in their lifetimes. That said, Bowdoin’s bathrooms are not spaces exclusively for those who identify as male. Free Flow products are available here for the trans* and gender nonconforming visitors and members of the Bowdoin community who use this bathroom and menstruate.”
“I think we had a responsibility to insert those placards, since it’s true that we hadn’t really explained to people why the dispensaries were there,” said BSG President Harriet Fisher ’17.