Senators debate bringing condoms to campus
There was quite a commotion at the senate meeting on April 8. Generation Action: Students for Reproductive Justice at UAF was represented by club co-president Brit Broadworth-Suckow and club member Kelvin Rogers. Generation Action’s proposed request was for $1,000 from ASUAF to fund the purchase and installation of 10 condom dispensers around campus so students have easier access to protection for if and when they partake in consenting sexual activity.
A member from Planned Parenthood was present to inform the senate of their main concern, which is that, according to the Center for Disease Control, Alaska has the highest rates of STD’s in the country. The majority of these rates are present within people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Other guests present included Club Council member, John Dougherty, and Arctic Student’s for Life member Leslie McEwen. Dougherty attended the meeting to suggest the bill SB 190-024 for the support of Generation Action’s initiative be tabled until more information can be gathered. McEwen raised concerns about the bill and where its outcomes would lead, questioning if giving students access to condom dispensers would lead to Plan B vending machines.
The Plan B insinuation was rejected by the senate members because of the unlikelihood that UAF would take such action. The expensiveness of the product and the irrelevance to the main initiative of Generation Action is merely to take precautionary action to avoid further breakout of STD’s and STI’s on campus.
As of now, the only access that students have to condoms are at the UAF Health and Counseling Center, which is open during business hours on the weekday, or students have to venture off-campus to buy them. Also, some resident assistants on campus hand them out at dorm events or upon request. Concern was raised students might not take advantage of these options because of the emotional discomfort.
Broadworth-Suckow commented that “if students don’t have money for food, then why would they have money for condoms” to the suggestion that, instead, UAF should make condoms available for sale at the Campus Cache.
Sen. Boswell questioned: “Why are we funding this?” By “we” he was referring to ASUAF. To this Director Clark replied that this is a student affairs issue and that ASUAF in the past used to provide this service for students, so why not now?
8,000 condoms have already been donated to Generation Action by Planned Parenthood. They informed the senate that even if they were not given the funding by ASUAF they would still continue with their initiative as best as they can.
A motion was made twice to end the discussion of the bill, and finally after copious debate the movement was passed and the senate moved on to vote. Fortunately for Generation Action, the senate passed their bill with a majority vote.
Support for Japan Alaska Club
The Japan Alaska club requested funding from ASUAF to take exchange students to Chena Hot Springs. This bill passed unanimously.
Faculty and Staff Awards
Congratulations to Sherri Wall and Kaydee Van Flein for being chosen as the recipients for the faculty and staff awards, respectively.