For months, somebody’s been throwing away or otherwise vandalizing unused free tampons and pads stocked in select men’s bathrooms at Loyola for transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) students, The Phoenix reported.
This week, it happened again, with a social media twist: The alleged perpetrator — a male Loyola student who The Phoenix isn’t naming — took a video of himself tossing a box of unused menstrual products in the garbage, then posted the incriminating images to his Snapchat account, according to interviews and online records.
From there, a 21-year-old senior at Loyola, Clara Weisheit, said she saw the video on Snapchat and direct-messaged him to tell him what he did was wasteful and harmful to other students.
Without a response, he blocked her from his account, she said.
So Weisheit said she posted the video on Twitter Wednesday night. It went viral the next day, prompting thousands of shares and, now, an investigation by Loyola administrators. As of Saturday, the video had received at least 1.5 million views on Twitter.
“We are going to try to have a discussion with [the student],” Weisheit said. “We want it to have some sort of consequence so we felt it was better to involve the university to mediate.”
Tim Love, deputy coordinator and executive director of the school’s Title IX Office — now known as the Office for Equity & Compliance — said his office has received several reports about the video today.
While some students say the incident is evidence of transphobia — discrimination against transgender people — Love said the reasoning behind the act is unknown.
“While the motivation for this alleged act/video is unknown at this time, all Loyola students should take note that vandalizing these products or otherwise interfering with this initiative causes real harm to our TGNC community (and therefore to our entire University community) and is strictly prohibited,” Love wrote in a statement to The Phoenix.
Love said the matter will be investigated and resolved “according to University policy and procedure,” but no responsibility or outcomes have been determined.
Due to privacy concerns and respect for Loyola’s policies and processes, Love wrote he has no further comment at this time.
Will Rodriguez, Loyola’s dean of students, didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Phoenix. Loyola’s official Twitter tweeted that Rodriguez “is aware of the incident in the men’s restroom and taking necessary steps to respond to the situation.”
Rodriguez previously told The Phoenix he thinks this behavior is concerning.
“They do not reflect the ideals and practices of the overwhelming majority of students who live by our Jesuit values and three tenants of the Student Promise,” Rodriguez wrote in his statement in March.
Weisheit said she formerly belonged to the group that stocks the menstrual products in some on-campus bathrooms — Students for Reproductive Justice (SRJ).
SRJ is an organization formed by Loyola students — but not affiliated with the university — focused on sexual and reproductive health on campus. SRJ places free pads and tampons in select men’s, women’s and gender neutral bathrooms on Loyola’s Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses — an initiative started in spring 2018, The Phoenix reported.
In March, The Phoenix reported on a string of incidents involving tampering with menstrual products in men’s bathrooms. The menstrual products are provided by SRJ in men’s, women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms around campus.
“SRJ will CONTINUE to stock the men’s, women’s and gender neutral restrooms on campus because unlike some of our fellow students, we believe that access to these products is something every student deserves,” SRJ posted on Facebook and Instagram.
The perpetrator is allegedly a member of Loyola’s Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity, which didn’t respond to The Phoenix’s requests for comment.
On Saturday, SRJ posted a statement on Instagram from Loyola’s TKE in which the fraternity apologizes for the perpetrator’s actions and says, moving forward, it will partner with SRJ to prevent situations like this from happening in the future.
“The Greek community is committed to respecting those inside and outside of it, and what transpired is not indicative of that commitment, nor our Fraternity’s values,” according to the statement.
TKE has taken proper disciplinary action, according to the statement.
On Sunday, SRJ commented that TKE asked for the student’s punishment to remain private, and it was “taken aback by TKE’s prompt and appropriate response.”
SRJ said it’s unaware of the university’s punishment at this time, which is likely on hold until the end of fall break.
SRJ also said it met with the president and executives of TKE and they discussed how to become better allies to the LGBTQ community.
“The traction gained from this incidence will be the catalyst for powerful change here at Loyola,” SRJ wrote.
SRJ, TKE and the student who allegedly disposed of the menstrual products didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment from The Phoenix.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.