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> Monday, August 30th, 2010 > Lifestyles > St. Thomas forms advisory committee
in wake of condom controversy
St. Thomas forms advisory committee in wake of condom controversy
The Aquinian (St. Thomas University)
Click here to read more Interrobang articles written by Karissa Donkin
Published: Monday, August 30th, 2010
Students’ union told to keep condoms out of welcome kits because of university ‘practice’
FREDERICTON (CUP) — Confusion surrounding St. Thomas University’s condom distribution policy has opened the door for the university to discuss student health.
In July, the students’ union made headlines after revealing that they weren’t allowed to include condoms in this year’s welcome week kits — information and supply packages handed out to first-year students.
“(We were) originally told by residence life that we were not allowed to include condoms in welcome week kits,” said Ella Henry, students’ union president.
“When we asked for clarification, we were told it was the result of a campus ministry policy. We sent an email to the president of the university asking whether there was actually a campus ministry (or other) policy on the distribution of condoms on campus.”
Henry said she was told there was no campus ministry or university policy on the distribution of condoms on campus, but rather a longstanding practice.
“I thought that the time where the university would oppose the distribution of condoms on campus had passed. In my time at STU, I’ve seen the university start to distribute condoms in residences for instance,” Henry said.
“I think what we ran into was the institutional remnants of a policy, practice (or) attitude within the university that no longer exists, but was never fully dealt with.”
Jeffrey Carleton, university spokesperson, confirmed that there is no university policy “one way or the other” about condom distribution on campus.
“It’s a practice that, the more we looked into it, the more we saw a wide variation from year to year.”
In response, St. Thomas University president Dennis Cochrane has formed an advisory committee to look into the broad issue of student health.
The committee will provide Cochrane with advice on the issue of student health, including advice on condom distribution on campus.
Carleton said Cochrane wants the group to be advocates for student wellness on campus and “bring forward ideas on studentbased education, action and events related to student health."
Ten people, representing various campus groups, will form the committee.
Henry said they are expecting an answer on whether they can include condoms in this year’s welcome week kits before the event starts in September.
“(We) look forward to working with the university to improve sexual health on campus,” said Henry.