To promote safe and positive sexual health, Senate is teaming up with Help, Empower and Teach to give students accessibility to condoms on campus.
“It has been an incentive that we have been trying to push for years,” said Ashley Porter, a member and former president of HEAT. “We just haven’t had the backing to do it.”
Last spring, the National College Health Assessment conducted a study about the sexual activity of Bradley students.
The results showed the rate of students engaged in sexual intercourse has risen from 30.2 percent to 37.3 percent in the past three years, and less than one-fourth of those students are using condoms. The results also showed the unintentional pregnancy rate of Bradley students at 1.8 percent, or about one in every 50 females.
Members from both Senate and HEAT are alarmed by these numbers and have come up with a resolution to encourage sexual safety by enabling condoms to be available to students on campus.
Currently, no facility on campus is able to distribute condoms to students, including the Wellness Center.
Porter said only outside organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, are able to distribute condoms to students.
“Students have been asking for a long time to bring condoms to Bradley,” said Student Senate Vice President and HEAT member Tricia Anklan. “But right now there isn’t a spot on campus you can get them.”
Anklan said this issue has existed since the ‘90s and HEAT has brought this issue to University President Joanne Glasser’s attention for years at Senate’s annual Speak Up event, but still nothing has been done.
“We really need to push for this,” Porter said . “If students at Bradley are going to engage in sexual behavior then we should be able to educate students and provide a reasonably financed way to encourage them to be safe, so they will be healthy in the long run.”
With this resolution composed by Senate, the Wellness Center will be the only distributor of condoms. Condoms will be offered during certain hours all semester long, but only when HEAT members are present to distribute them.
Melissa Sage-Bollenbach, director of wellness programs, said she thinks Bradley is already doing a good job protecting students by offering sexually transmitted infection testing, but provide condoms would do more.
“While we recognize that abstinence is the only way to protect yourself 100 percent, correct and consistent condom use is a very good option for those students who choose to be sexually active,” she said. “The distribution of condoms would be a very inexpensive service to provide to students. If we can provide them with the more expensive service of screening and treatment, we should also be able to provide them with a very inexpensive, significant means of protection.”
Under the plan, if a student is interested in receiving condoms he or she must attend a Bradley HEAT sexual health presentation and then register with the program. Using their ID’s registered students will be able to pick up one package of 15 condoms a month.
Senate will be making changes to and voting on this resolution at the next general assembly meeting. Once Senate approves it, Vice-President of Student Affairs Alan Galsky will bring it to the Board of Trustee’s and then to the Parents’ Board.
“There are plenty of campuses around the nation that have programs like this,” Porter said. “I think having a program like this at Bradley would be intelligent and beneficial for the whole student body.”
“Our goal is to get this passed,” Anklan said. “So that we can be proactive for our students.”