By Isaac Messinger | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In an era where sexual freedom is becoming more widely accepted and sometimes even encouraged, it’s more crucial than ever that contraceptives are made available to the many people that need them. A large portion of the people are college students across the nation, and in light of this, many colleges, including Central Oregon Community College, are making an effort to provide contraceptive resources to students free of charge.
Though the topic has been a taboo in the past, schools are becoming aware of the fact that students are going to engage in sexual activities and are choosing to promote safety rather than feign ignorance of the topic.
The array of items available varies from school to school, but usually includes staples such as condoms and sometimes Plan B pills depending on the location. A bevy of colleges like Shippensburg in Pennsylvania are even innovating, offering a staffed vending machine that dispenses the pills for $25. The University of Maryland recently implemented a student pharmacy that is open 36 hours per week, the main purpose of which is to dispense Plan B pills in an expedient manner.
These implementations have not been without speed bumps however; an unnamed student stated in a Washington Post interview that when she attempted to purchase Plan B in 2015 staff treated her “coldly” and made her feel “ashamed to be there.” She later testified in favor of a Maryland bill that would make contraceptive pills available 24/7 at colleges in the state, saying: “Just because I had a negative experience doesn’t mean women in the future should too.”
As for COCC, plan B is not available on the campus quite yet, but ASCOCC President, Makenzie Hice, stated that “It’s important for college students to have access to the resources necessary to participate in safe sex.”
Unfortunately, students often fail to engage in sexual activities safely due to a purported lack of ease in acquiring said resources. In light of this, ASCOCC has made free condoms and dental dams available in the bathrooms of the campus center. ASCOCC highlighted that “Supplies are only available in the campus center for now, but should spread to other buildings” as the idea catches on according to Hice.
Hopefully this will more often be the case as college institutions realize the importance of providing students with access to contraceptives.
Contact ASCOCC if you have comments, questions, or need more condoms and lubricants in the Coats Campus Center in room 207 or call them at (541) 383-7595. ■