The condom dispensers located in the single stall restrooms on the first floor of North Complex and Burgess-Norton halls were last filled in May of 2018. As of now, there is no plan to refill them.
The dispensers and condoms were provided by Sanford Health in Jan. 2017, and they continued to cover the cost of supplying the condoms.
Ashley Hartnett, director of housing, said housing stopped having Sanford Health refill the dispensers in order to be respectful of the cost and quantity of their donations.
“When we started this project, the demand was so high that Sanford Health…wasn’t able to keep up.” Harnett said. “So we started using the condoms that we were given in other capacities to make sure they still got distributed, just in a different format.”
Cindy Benzel, student health manager for Sanford Health, said in an email interview with The Volante that the dispenser system wasn’t as effective as hoped.
Instead of refilling the dispensers, Sanford Health provides condoms to be handed out at educational programs university housing puts on, like Sex After Dark or individual programs in the halls where Sanford health presents on STD awareness, Hartnett said.
“Supplies come from the State Department of Health and are typically distributed by USD housing as needed through programs and education events happening on campus,” Benzel said.
These events are put on more often during the fall than the spring in order to educate sooner, Hartnett said.
Krista Honomichl, president of Students for Reproductive Rights, said she thinks the university should not have stopped Sanford from refilling the dispensers.
“I don’t think that the university should cut off a service because they’re worried that somebody else is donating too often,” Honomichl said.
However, Honomichl said she had some concerns about the dispenser system because of its open accessibility.
“It needs to be a little more closed off so there isn’t that potential for somebody going in and tampering with the condoms, because it’d be really unfortunate if a student thinking they’re practicing safe sex isn’t because somebody went in and like poked holes,” she said.
In addition to handing out condoms at programs, Hartnett said resident assistants can request condoms from Sanford Health.
“It’s up to them to decide if they’re comfortable with distributing on an individual basis, but they can ask for condoms from Sanford Health and… they can provide them in common spaces or per request,” Hartnett said.
Honomichl said the university is well equipped to do more and she would like to see the Student Government Association (SGA) look into this issue.
“They’ve got money that they could use.” she said. “Part of their job is to take care of the students and if this is something that we decide as a university we want to be taking care of the students’ sexual health then I think the Student Government Association could do something about it.”
Until then, Honomichl said Students for Reproductive Rights is in the process of getting free condoms from Planned Parenthood to distribute during tabling this month, since it is National Condom Month.
“As students, our job is to get an education…and we cannot do that if we’re dealing with some internal stuff coming out of not having these healthy relationships and (condoms) not always being accessible,” Honomichl said.