Now in your mailbox: free condoms

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March 25, 2008

3:56 AM

Letters from mom and pizza coupons have long been mainstays in the mailboxes of College students. Now, condoms may be as well.
The Office of Health Education, in conjunction with Health Outreach Peer Educators, has launched a new survey to evaluate whether students are content with the current availability of condoms at the College.

p. “We are hoping to … find out approximately how many students would take advantage of an opportunity like this and to learn if students are embarrassed to take condoms from the FISH Bowl,” Director of the Student Health Center Virginia Wells said.
Free condoms are currently available at both the Health Center and at the FISH Bowl in the Campus Center.

p. Condom distribution and availability within the public education system has been a controversial political issue.

p. “The basic question at the heart of the debate is whether making condoms more readily available will increase immoral behavior, or whether immoral behavior is present and [condom distribution] just makes it safer,” government Professor John Gilmour said.

p. Stephen Salvato ’10, chair of the College Republicans, shared his opinion with respect on the matter.

p. “I won’t hesitate to say that … we generally agree that condoms should not be distributed to minors,” he said. “But as for college, I don’t think I can tell you what the so-called Republican stance would be.”

p. Young Democrats President Liz Pedraja ’09 said she approved.
“I don’t see a problem with it,” she said. “It’s already available — so making it easier, I’m fine with that.”

p. Gilmour echoed the ambiguity of the issue.

p. “There’s a big difference between high school and college,” he said. “In college, you are adults, and the College doesn’t necessarily have an obligation to make [condoms] available. They’re out there.”

p. Savalto’s only concern over the CSU distribution was to make sure those students who do not wish to receive condoms would “just be left alone.”

p. Wells said that the policy under consideration would not inconvenience anybody who was not interested.

p. “The idea of this distribution system is to provide condoms to students who requested them through a confidential ordering system,” she said. “We would not be trying to distribute condoms to all students or trying to distribute them at random, [but] we would hope to provide condoms to anyone who needs them.”
Student Assembly Senator Caroline Mullis ’09, a noted advocate of free condoms on campus, said it was a start but more reform is needed.

p. “I think this program is a clear step in the right direction — but what about if you run out of these condoms that they distributed to you via CSU but realized it mid-hookup?” Mullis said in an e-mail.

p. “This program would target people who do not use condoms because of financial reasons, laziness, convenience … or comfort.”
Wells said the survey response would help the staff evaluate if current funding would be enough to accommodate interest in the program or if further exploration and fundraising efforts would be necessary.

p. “It is important to note that we’re not trying to expand condom availability, we’re trying to make sure that our distribution method is meeting the needs of our students,” Wells said.

p. “If students are too embarrassed to come get condoms from the FISH Bowl, or if they can’t come to the Campus Center or Health Center to get the condoms, we want to help them with that.”

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