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Condom plan offers a poor compromise


It doesn’t really seem like a lot, and it’s not.

So is a dollar for 15 condoms a bad deal? No.

And under the latest revision to the Sexual Health Resolution, students would be able to pay $1 for 15 condoms.

It’s important to recognize that this is the first time in Bradley’s history that the condoms will be distributed.

And though it’s a less-than-ideal plan, it is something, and we acknowledge that.

We also encourage the students to use the program. Take the class, buy the condoms and, most importantly, use them.

That said, the flaws in this plan really make it hard to appreciate.

Administrators said condom plans in the past have been met with a small, but significant, number of students who opposed them.

But those students were nowhere to be found this time around.

None spoke up at any of the many senate meetings that addressed the subject.

None wrote letters to the editor.

And administrators said no one voiced any opinion, positive or negative, about this condom plan.

So is it possible Bradley is reacting to a problem that doesn’t exist?


But more likely is that the students who oppose the plan on moral or religious grounds are out there., they just aren’t vocalizing their opinions.

It’s obviously important to take into account the minority opinion, but in this case, appeasing that minority opinion comes at the expense of the vastly larger majority.

And when the statistics on sexual health are as bad as they are here, it’s inexcusable.

Sexually transmitted infections increased 59 percent between 2006 and 2009. Let us repeat that: 59 percent.

And instances of unintended pregnancy increased four times in the same period.

The most relevant statistic, and the one that probably caused the rest of them, is that less than 50 percent of students reported using condoms during sexual activity.

When is the university going to stop being reactive?

It’s not as if students who oppose the condom plan would have to pay any additional money for them. It would just come out fees they already pay.

Every student pays a health fee of $72 a year. That fee funds the Health Center, both the medical and counseling sides of it. And it funds the Wellness Center and the many programs it offers.

The thing is, students don’t get too much of say in where the money we pay to attend here goes.

The university can’t let students choose line by line which programs those students want their money going toward. That would be absurd.

And so that’s why Bradley has a health center – which some students will never use during their four years here.

And that’s why Bradley has so many great activities for students, even though many students will never join a club, see a movie in Marty Theatre or go to a concert on campus.

There will always be students who don’t like where some of their money is going, but that is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast.

Administrators have to spend our dollars in a way that benefits the most students and the university.

The other part of our objection is that the condoms will cost the university practically nothing. In fact, the first 500 are completely free. That will allow about 33 students to pick up 15 condoms.

But even after the free ones run out, the cost to purchase more is a mere 5 cents.

Public and many private schools across the country have seen the light and offered free condoms.

So why can’t Bradley?

It seems as though the administration and Board of Trustees can’t pass the negative stigma attached to condoms, even though they are vital to public health.

If universities, like Bradley, won’t take the appropriate steps forward to move past those stigmas, who will?

So, to members of the administration and to the Board of Trustees: Even though we appreciate that condoms will finally be somewhat available, we are not OK with this plan.

The point is to get as many students as possible to use the condoms – so why implement another hurdle, even a nominal one?

This plan must be only a first step, and not the last.

We encourage students on both sides of the debate to let their voices be heard.

Don’t let this be the end of the discussion.

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