Condom machines installed on campus

By Stephanie Bradley

Condom machines were installed at several locations on the NIU campus over spring break.

Steve Lux, health educator for the NIU Health Enhancement Services, said the machines were installed Thursday and Friday of last week in the bathrooms on the lower level of the Holmes Student Center, in bathrooms on the bottom floor of Founders Memorial Library, the University Health Services, the locker rooms in Anderson and Gabel Halls and the bathrooms in the residence hall lobbies.

Jon Dalton, NIU vice president for student affairs, said student response to the machines will be assessed by the Health Enhancement Services. Health Enhancement staff members also will be providing educational information, which was planned from the project’s beginning.

“It’s not simply a matter of putting the machines in. We also will follow and evaluate them,” Dalton said.

While evaluation has not yet begun, Dalton does not anticipate a negative response to the machines. “We engaged in a careful and thoughtful period of planning,” he said.

The machines were installed to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, Dalton said.

An NIU senior said she believes the machines are a good idea.

“If people are going to be sexually active they have to be realistic (about the possibility of contracting an STD or AIDS). People still have a choice, but if they choose to be sexually active, it should be easy to get protection,” she said.

The student said putting the machines in bathrooms was a good idea because the machines are discreet, although “people shouldn’t be squeamish about getting (the condoms). People will (have sex) whether people think it’s bad or not.”

Dalton said NIU will monitor condom sales. He said the data will be available on a weekly basis and will include how many condoms are sold at each of the locations. “We’ll learn more about the effectiveness of providing them,” he said.

The condoms and the machines are provided by National Sanitary Laboratories of Lincolnwood, Ill. The condoms are latex with spermicide, a substance which kills sperm. They will be sold individually at 50 cents each.

NSL installed the machines at no cost and will refill and maintain them. NIU receives a sales commission from the machines.

NIU administrators decided in September 1988 to install condom machines on campus in response to AIDS and other STDs.