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‘Take Back Pride at Clemson’ protest held after tampons removed from men’s bathrooms

About 50 students marched across Clemson University on Wednesday to demand that menstrual products be returned to men’s bathrooms in Cooper Library and that the Clemson College Republicans be reprimanded for their role in the tampons’ removal.

Take Back Pride hosts a march every year, and the latest one was centered on the university’s decision to remove menstrual products from the men’s bathroom last month.

“Today, we are marching for the reinstatement of the menstrual products in the men’s restrooms in Cooper Library and throughout campus,” said Pan Tankersley, the main student organizer of the event.

“We demand the reinstatement of the menstrual dispensers that were unjustly removed from the men’s bathrooms at Cooper Library,” one student speaker said during the rally at Sikes Hall ahead of the march.

“Queer people on this campus are not just going to magically disappear. So instead of working against us, like taking away menstrual products from the men’s bathrooms, making people feel unwelcomed, there should be support for the community that is already fighting to feel safe here.”

The students held aloft a sea of rainbow flags along with a variety of signs with pro-LGBTQ and pro-communism sayings. Another poster included an image of Republican Nikki Haley that suggested she is the puppet master of Clemson leaders.

The dispensers were removed after Clemson College Republicans posted a picture of one of the period product dispensers to its X account on Sept. 13, writing: “If you weren’t aware already, Clemson University has tampon/pad dispensers in the MEN’S restrooms located in Cooper Library. We truly live in (clown) world,” using the clown emoji in place of the word.

The post caught the attention of April Cromer, a Republican member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, who reportedly discussed the issue with campus leaders.

The dispensers were removed from the Cooper Library men’s restrooms on Sept. 16, three days after Clemson College Republicans’ initial post.

The College Republicans tabled across the street from the Take Back Pride event in protest of the group’s demand to return menstrual products to men’s bathrooms.

“It’s unfair that they’re taking that (free menstrual products) away from females,” said Bailey Nye, social chair of Clemson College Republicans. “Taking the tampons from the majority of people who actually use them is wrong.”

“Men can not menstruate, as we all know,” Trevor Tiedeman, chairman of the Clemson College Republicans, said in an interview with The College Fix. “All of this pro-LBGTQ stuff is anti-Christan, but people don’t talk about that. As Christians, we need to reject that because they are trying to play God.”

Tiedeman said the employees responsible for installing the menstrual products should be fired.

On Take Back Pride’s Instagram account, it presented a list of demands to the university, including calling on campus leaders to punish the Clemson College Republicans under the student code of conduct.

They allege the College Republicans are “contributing to a campus climate that encourages transphobic rhetoric and jeopardizes the safety of LGBTQIA+ students,” according to an Instagram post on its account.

A top campus official did not say whether administrators would put back the tampons and pads in the men’s bathrooms or whether the College Republicans would face any repercussions.

Clemson’s Dean of Students and President of Student Affairs Chris Miller did say, however, that the campus supports free speech.

“It’s always good that our students have access to their campus,” Miller said after the pride protest. “The ability to assemble and speak freely unencumbered just goes to the heart of what a university is and what a university is for.”

The Take Back Pride march first occurred on April 14, 2022, in response to two Instagram posts made by Clemson College Republicans earlier that month that demonstrators’ alleged “perpetuated acts of hate, discrimination and violence against the LGBTQIA+ community.”

One post was in response to TigerLives’s 9th annual drag show. The College Republicans claimed the event was “chock-full of sexual degeneracy that spits in the face of the Christian population that currently attends Clemson University.”

The second post was a defense of their initial statement after the club received immense backlash from the community about their views.

There are currently no plans to reinstall the product dispensers in the men’s bathrooms, but Clemson University spokesperson Joe Galbraith told Clemon’s newspaper, The Tiger, that the products are still available in women’s and family restrooms.

MORE: Clemson removes tampon dispensers from men’s restrooms

IMAGES: Justin Robertson – Clemson University

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About the Author
Blake Mauro -- Clemson University