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Condom dispensaries at CSUN given a second look — 27 years later

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Condom dispensaries could be coming to our campus — 27 years after their original proposal.

In 1987, condom dispensers were installed in men’s and women’s restrooms at the Student Union. The condom dispensers were installed to help stem the spread of the AIDS epidemic sweeping the nation at the time, according to an article from April 12, 1987, in the Los Angeles Times.

The proposal to bring condom dispensers to campus is back on the Associated Students agenda.

When Frank Duarte, senator for the Mike Curb College and AS Board member, discovered the question mark with the original bid in the school’s constitution from 1986, he set things in motion and presented a new resolution to the board.

Duarte said although condoms are available at the Pride and Health centers, there’s a large presence of students who could benefit from having the dispensaries.

“It might help them to think twice rather than not giving much thought to it [safe sex],” Duarte said.

Another reason for the dispensary push is the lack of privacy some students might feel going into a store or getting them from another person. Some people don’t get them because they’re too embarrassed to be seen getting them.

“Confidentially is still a big deal,” Duarte said. “I think students will feel more comfortable going to [a] dispenser than a particular place on campus.”

It is unknown where the dispensers would be placed if the motion is approved. Duarte said their location would be given a lot of consideration, with the goal of preserving student privacy and safety in mind.

Alejandra Valle, a sophomore public health promotions major, said dispensaries would provide more privacy for those too embarrassed to go and buy them.

“People are going to have sex whether you want them to or not. It’s their decision,” Valle said. “But if you have the condom dispensers it gives them privacy and it’s better for them to use a condom than nothing at all.”

Not everyone is on board with this proposition or the idea that this is in the best interest of the students.

Sofia Jamil, senior public relations major, isn’t sure placing dispensaries on campus is necessary, but if they must be added, they should consider putting them near the dorms rather than on campus.

“What are we prioritizing?” she said. “Has the urge become too much to bear that you need options for sex available to you at school?”

Valle said she doesn’t believe the dispensaries promote or will encourage more sex on campus.

“It’s more in favor of them [students], not really to have more sex, but to protect themselves if they were to have sex,” said Valle.

Duarte said health education is a driving force for the dispensaries. He believes there is a significant portion of students who still don’t understand the consequences of unprotected sex. So for him it’s not about promoting sex, it’s about promoting awareness and maybe getting someone to think twice.

“You either do it or you don’t,” he said. “If you’re going to do it, do it safely.”

Sharon Aronoff, health educator at the health center, said despite knowing little about the motion, the center supports awareness and safe sex practices.

Besides the center’s dozen condoms for $2, Aronoff said the center offers STD/STI/AIDS and HIV testing, as well as informational appointments for those who wish to speak with someone about sexual health.

“We have a clinical patient educator who can meet with people individually or in groups who can speak about sexual and reproductive health issues, birth control, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy options and counseling,” she said.

The proposal is still being discussed in the AS University Affairs committee. In the meantime, Duarte says there is room for collaboration and discussion.

“The health center has done outstanding job of workshops and seminars by making pamphlets and brochures etc,” he said. “Help from the Pride and Health center is welcome.”

Duarte said because the proposal is still new, there has not been any resistance from groups on campus. But the health center is bracing for backlash if the initiative is approved, she said.

“You either do it to help the students or you don’t,” Duarte said. “We can’t make everyone happy, but I’m willing to work with and negotiate.”

The plan is currently with the board and will likely be decided on this semester.

For more information about the services of the Health Center please call (818) 677- 3666 or go online to myhealth.csun.edu.
Jason Wang PPM director said AS has not contacted him regarding the placement of condom dispensers on campus.  He did say that PPM would only be involved if it was placed in administrative buildings, not enterprise buildings such as the USU and SRC.

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