The Lakeland Mirror

Condom machines a good investment?

Should Lakeland College invest nearly $7,000, not including the cost of regular stock rotation, in residence hall condom vending machines that cater to only certain on-campus students?

The college is considering it, but not without financial implications and questioning the investment’s fairness to students who would have no use for the machines.

“Everyone loves condoms— we’re college students!” Not so fast. After considering the implications of the endeavor, even some of the most avid users may opt for that $6.00 12-pack at Wal-Mart as opposed to the installation of vending machines.

The most controversial aspect of this initiative is that it will cost a lot of people money, ultimately way more than the few cents a student pays purchasing a condom from an RA or buying in bulk from Wal-Mart for $6.00.

Lakeland will pay at least $6,500 for only 13 machines and will be presented with two options to rotate the expirable merchandise: seek handouts that will burden the taxpayer, including student workers, or supply the merchandise themselves, perhaps even through tuition revenue to some extent. Even $1,000 is too much to spare when it could be put toward financial relief for bright students, and imagine how far $6,500 could go in the college’s Mirror, Spectrum, debate team, and music groups which are always in need of extra funding and whose endeavors actually contribute to their future careers and are academically- based.

Lakeland could even afford to plow the roads leading up to the school, send out text alerts for class cancellations, or create some extra commuter parking for its off-campus students to enhance their academic experience.

Speaking of the commuters, how do they benefit at all from this initiative? In fact, how does anyone in the Lakeland community with an alternate lifestyle benefit?

This non-academic project will only cater to certain students on campus, perhaps even at the expense of uninvolved ones. Not to mention dispensers were installed at Lakeland in the late 1980’s and pulled almost immediately; if the first endeavor was unsuccessful, why fund a second so soon?

Lakeland students are adults; in the real world people take public transportation or drive to Wal- Mart and buy their contraceptives if needed. Students should begin these habits now rather than later, as Lakeland cannot shelter them forever.

Even students without cars can easily ask the Lakeland Shuttle to take them to Wal-Mart. The amount of privacy available for buying condoms at Wal-Mart is essentially the same as buying condoms from a machine, especially with the self-checkout machines that the Plymouth Wal- Mart offers.

All the school should do is educate students on condoms, including their failure rate and inability to absolve all risk factors. Students should be left to become the big kids they are, responsible for their own bodies.

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Condom machines a good investment?