TEMPE, AZ (FR) – A proposal to place condom machines in a campus dormitory complex at Arizona State University is becoming a controversial moral issue due to the actions of 15 students who have opposed the measure. Although the availability of condoms is supposed to curtail the problems of unwanted pregnancies and the spread of AIDS, opponents argue that more sexual promiscuity will result.
Sheila Barker, a 21-year-old fine arts student and member of the Maranatha Christian Church in Tempe, said she decided to lead the opposition on moral grounds. She told the Arizona Republic, a daily newspaper, “I believe the condom machines would promote premarital sex and immorality. It’s like putting a band-aid on a festering wound.”
Despite a petition of 200 signatures opposing the condom vendors, the Resident Hall Association (RHA) approved placement of the machines. But those involved in the opposition movement complained that they did not get a fair hearing. “When we filed our petition, the RHA officials refused to sign it,” said Sheila Anderson, a junior business major. “It was definitely a problem of misrepresentation.” RHA officials had previously told Barker and Anderson that only 100 signatures were needed to validate the petition.
Anderson says 200 is a substantial amount of signatures for a campus of 25,000 students. “They said 200 signatures wasn’t enough and they wouldn’t even look at the petition,” she added. The proposal must now be reviewed by the university administration for authorization; however, an administration official was reported as saying that chances of approval of the condom machines was very slim. John Fees, student government president, agreed with the assessment.
Two male dorm residents were behind the push for condom vending machines. “The thing we’re concerned about is having condoms available,” said Scott Andrews, president of the Center Complex Hall Council. “If a student can’t go out to a drugstore (to get condoms), he could jeopardize his situation.”
No state universities in Arizona have condom machines. Barker said the next step for the group is to lobby the administration, which is currently at a standstill on the issue.