DUELING COLUMN: Free Condoms At FIU Are A Good Thing

Dominique Kent/Contributing Writer 

We’ve all been to the Student Health Center. We’ve all been to campus events. We’ve all seen them. Condoms. Lots and lots of condoms.

Students have mixed reactions to their appearance on campus. Some students might turn into blushing seventh graders who just said their first dirty word when forced to make casual conversation surrounded by the brightly-colored candy bowls of rubbers. Other students might be cavalier in the face of brightly-colored prophylactics.

And there are some students that take a more negative view of the subject. For some, the sight of condoms on campus seems like an unnecessary violation of their beliefs and morals. 

Whatever the reaction, condoms are on campus for a reason, and a good one.

The thing is, I have sometimes felt mixed feelings too. I believe in freedom, the right to be safe and healthy, and the responsibility of the University to provide assistance for all its students. But I also come from a religious household, where the idea of freely handing out and encouraging casual sex is a little disconcerting.

But when it comes down to it, I’m okay being a little uncomfortable. When it comes to health and safety, we should all be willing to sacrifice for the overall good of our fellow students. 

Many universities are making the push toward greater awareness of sexual health issues and better access to things like condoms and water-based lubricants. These strides should be viewed as positive – a better prepared and knowledgeable student body is a safer and healthier student body.

Essentially, access to condoms is part of a University-wide push to provide students with free access to as many healthcare necessities as possible. Students can get flu shots, physical examinations and many other services for free with the cost of tuition; why shouldn’t sexual health be included?

The Student Health Center offers free testing for sexually transmitted diseases. But the inclusion of condoms on campus is a way to prevent STDs from happening in the first place. If a disease is easily preventable, it’s the duty of the institution to do so. 

Some college students are going to have casual sex, no matter what anyone tries to do or say. As such, we should view sexual health and the risk of STDs just as seriously as the other services provided at the Student Health Center and CAPS.

Main arguments against the inclusion of free condoms on campus often stem from morality. Like I said before, I get it. It’s important for us all to hold onto our individual morals and values, but in viewing and treating this subject as wrong or taboo, we’re increasing the risk of unsafe sex on campus. Not only that, it shames people into being unsafe. 

If you limit access to contraceptives, people are less likely to use them. It’s simple cause and effect. If you provide free access, students will take advantage of it and diseases can be prevented. If you withhold access on the grounds of morality, the people who would have used condoms will begin practicing unsafe sex. Along with the issue of shame comes the biggest danger: forcing some people to suffer in silence. It may make students feel uncomfortable being treated for STDs and STIs.

Who decides the morality of sex? What governs the idea of right versus wrong? And do these factors truly add up enough to allow the spread of dangerous and unnecessary health risks on campus?

Sex is a personal choice, as is morality. Safety is a universal concern – something we should all be focusing on before all else. When the University provides free condoms, it’s sending a message that the health and well-being of students are important. It’s sending a message of acceptance and inclusion. It’s removing shame from campus and replacing it with progress.

A slightly awkward, brightly-colored bowl of condoms means more than a gateway to casual sex. It means safe sex. It means acceptance and inclusion. It means that the safety of students is more pressing than the perceived moral code of the individual. It means that the University cares. 

Featured photo by Ferran Pestaña on Flickr.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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