Condoms Come to UCSD

It has taken nearly two years of planning, but condom dispensers have finally been installed across campus. During a Spring 2010 meeting of the Associated Students, then campus-wide senator Elizabeth Elman put forward a plan to install the machines across the six colleges and the Village, arguing that the two wall-mounted devices in Price Center East — in operation since 2004 — were not enough.

According to Associate Vice President of Student Services John Weng, the plan received overwhelming support from student body leaders when it was first proposed, though it was never voted on formally.

“But then the quarter ended,” Weng said. “The older batch of A.S. members left. My predecessor, Leigh Mason, told me I should pursue the idea, and I did. But it failed — it failed miserably.”

Under current council regulations, any permanent public resource, like condom dispensers, needs to be approved by the residential dean of the college it will be installed in. After receiving this approval, the public resource has to receive funding from the relevant college council before it can be installed. Though each of the residential deans Weng contacted formally approved the condom installation plan, all six college councils denied its funding. Weng said he was never informed why.

However, toward the end of Spring Quarter 2012, Weng found a sympathetic ear in Mark Cunningham, Executive Director of Housing, Dining and Hospitality at UCSD. Cunningham used funding from his own department to finance the condom machines at all of the colleges except ERC, whose council approved funding for the machines last November.

However, the office was still lacking a source of cheap condoms.

“The company we found to stock the machines is called ‘C&G Manufacturing’. They’re based in Colorado. They’re a huge company, and we managed to order directly from the warehouse. We trust the brand of condoms, Lifestyles, because it’s what Student Health Services already uses.”

The condoms, which cost $0.50 each outside UCSD, currently cost the Office of Student Services less than $0.10. Since UCSD’s internal maintenance (under Cunningham’s charge) installed the machines, installation of the machines did not cost any extra money.

Currently, the office makes an average profit of less than $0.05 per condom sold through the machines. Weng said his office is looking to purchase latex free condoms with this profit.

“That’s what the Office of Student Services is working on right now. Because some people are allergic [to the latex condoms], that’s what I want to use the revenue from the condoms to purchase.”

The Office of Student Services is currently in talks with Residential Life Offices across campus to increase student access to condoms. Currently, the bathrooms in Revelle College and Muir College close at 6 p.m. on weekdays and are not open on weekends. However, students can visit bathrooms at the other four colleges and the Village for 24/7 access to condoms.

“In the past, if you were somewhere besides Price Center at night, finding protection was very hard. Even now, not everywhere is open late. But we are trying to change all of that.