Bid for condom machines might be taken this week

By Stephanie Bradley

Condom machines could be installed at several locations on campus in four weeks if bids are settled by the end of this week.

“We haven’t contracted with anybody yet, but we prefer the bid of National Sanitary Laboritories,” said John Dalton, NIU vice president for student affairs. “It seems to be a reputable company.”

If NIU contracts with NSL, the company will supply the machines and the condoms, he said. NIU also is trying to include machine maintenance in the contract.

Dalton said he is meeting with NSL representatives this week and if both parties come to a satisfactory agreement, “we can conclude with the contract and move ahead. (After that) installation shouldn’t take more than two or three weeks.”

The machines will be installed in the bathrooms on lower level of the Holmes Student Center, 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 residence hall lobbies, he said.

The condoms are to be latex and contain spermicide, Dalton said. They will be dispensed individually and will cost 50 cents each until the first day of the fall 1989 semester, at which time the cost will be reevaluated, he said. The company must return part of the profits to NIU, Dalton said.

NIU will approve any design imprint on the machines and the company will be responsible for removing graffiti from them. They will have no advetising on them and will be “generic-looking,” Dalton said.

This aspect has been stessed because of “health concerns…it is an issue of sensitivity. We won’t offend but will deal with it,” he said.

Steve Lux, a health educator for NIU’s Health Enhancement Services, said the brand of comdoms installed in the machines will depend on which company NIU contracts with. NSL makes its own brand, he said, while other companies manufacture only the machines and the organization that purchases the machine chooses the condom brand to be sold.

Don Widick, director of materials management, said two other companies, Austin Group Investments andd Mews Marketing, also are vying for the NIU contract.

Dalton said the American College Health Association recently has advocated condom machines on campuses for the first time. It has hailed condom machines as a major preventative of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Dalton said NIU is taking the initiative in AIDS prevention, because NIU decided to install machines before the ACHA report was published.

NIU administrators decided in September 1988 to install condom machines on campus for students’ health in response to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The machines originally were to carry other health-related items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, but companies were unwilling to stock these items in a vending machine.