UW-Eau Claire to offer free condoms in buildings around campus

Campus initiative seeks to promote safe sex

Oludare Obadiya

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COVID on Campus
December 16, 2021
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Photo by Leah Pflaum

Condoms will be available in most university buildings to promote safe sex

UW Eau-Claire will now be installing condom and lubricant dispensers in certain buildings on campus. 

Jaden Mikoulinskii, fourth-year sociology, and family studies student and President of Student Senate, said the initiative was led by Katie Wilson, a health educator on campus. 

“She really likes to lead and promote big initiatives to educate students on health and well-being,” Mikoulinskii said regarding Wilson. “For all intents and purposes, she is absolutely leading the project.” 

According to Mikoulinskii, there are certain limitations regarding what buildings can have these dispensers. 

“Our jurisdiction with the Student Senate starts and ends with student segregated-fee funded buildings, which at this time means any non-academic building,” she said. “That includes Davies and the library.” 

She noted that once the Flesch Family Welcome Center is fully completed it will be eligible for the dispensers as well. 

Mikoulinskii also said the dispensers, as of now and into next semester, are still in a trial phase. 

“We want to see how many students are using them,” she said. “If a lot of students are using them all the time, that leads into the conversation of if we want dispensers in gender-neutral bathrooms or implemented in housing and residence life actively.” 

Elizabeth Grenzow, a fourth-year business management student and an RA at UW-Eau Claire said that she and other RA’s were not really involved in the process of putting the dispensers in residence halls. 

“….(the condoms) just kind’ve showed up one day,” she said. “I happened to be in the laundry room when it was being installed, and the person installing it told me that they were going up in all the buildings.” 

Grenzow also expounded upon whether or not the condoms are being used in an appropriate manner. 

“I think a good amount of them are being used as intended, but obviously college kids do mess around,” she said. “I do sometimes see wrappers in the hallways, which tells me some people are just messing around with them.”

There are also those who are opposed to the distribution of condoms anywhere on campus.

Mikoulinskii said that students have made her aware of groups on campus who are critical of the message having condoms free and available for students on school grounds may send.

Christy Prust, a health educator at UW-Eau Claire, said she is also aware of the apprehension some may have about condom dispensers being installed around campus.

“There are going to be students who are doing this anyway, and we know not all students are having sex,” she said. “In our opinion, it’s just about encouraging safe sex for those who are.” 

As far as the messaging these dispensers send, Prust questions the logic of those who see this as beyond promoting safe sex, and going into encouraging sex outright. 

“Students do not see condom dispensers and then decide that they should be having sex,” she said. “That’s just not how it works.”  

Prust went on to say this initiative is about accessibility and making it easier to practice safe sex. 

“We’re coming from the standpoint of preventing STIs and unwanted pregnancies,” she said. 

More information about safe sex on campus can be found on the Student Wellness Advocacy Team page on the UW-Eau Claire website.

Obadiya can be reached at [email protected]