Messing around with campus issue

By Peter Schuh

Why is it that every issue on this campus has to turn into a full-fledged religious crusade.

Case in point—NIU’s Health Enhancement Services’ new project dubbed “The Great Condom Rating Contest.” For those of you who didn’t know, HES spent all of last week handing out bags of condoms and asking students to rate them on such qualities as comfort, smell and taste. What are they looking to milk out of this, you ask? Apparently, HES is hoping to find a few good men—and women—who will rise to the occasion and stress-test these suckers so they know what types students prefer so they can purchase them for next year.

The slip HES seems to have made is that they’ve managed to get a few local preachers and “true believers” a little bent out of shape over this whole gooey mess.

What we appear to have here is a good, old-fashioned conflict of interests. HES wants to keep those sexually active students on campus healthy and free of unexpected “arrivals,” while certain sects of the local moral-gestapo want to get everyone to drop their rubbers—and pull those pants back up—”for Christ’s sake.”

What really rubs me the wrong way about this whole ordeal is that several of these morally-right individuals seem to think HES is encouraging Little Jack Horner to go in the corner and stick his thumb into somebody’s blueberry pie.

Although I give HES credit for attempting to make people more aware of and involved in the availability of condoms, I seriously doubt that “The Great Condom Rating Contest” is going to persuade NIU’s “pure” students to attempt the disappearing cane trick. As far as I remember, HES has always noted in all their literature that “abstinence is the best method.”

“Remember kiddies, we’re trained professionals, don’t try this stunt at home.”

And, for the record, free condoms have always been available to students. In addition, student organizations have sold everything from glow-in-the dark to edible condoms as fund-raisers.

This situation also has been a lesson in news making—controversy is to the media what prom dresses are to the back seat floor. Some people might have noted the original Star article on HES’s version of “The Dating Game” appeared on the third page. Now, take a pinch of enraged moralists, shake gently, and you’ve got the potential for a front pager and NBC to boot.

Just think, if no one would have complained about something that was none of their business this whole mess might have just slipped back under the covers. Instead, it rose into a great pillar of an issue.

I do have to give credit to a few of the local preachers, though. To deter people from shacking up they’ve tried other stunts besides the typical “God’s not gonna like it,” or “you’re gonna go to Hell.” This time around they tried statistics. Mind you, they’re nothing like any statistics I’ve ever seen. The last I heard condoms had a five percent failure rate, not 15. Of course, when you’ve got God on your side, anything’s possible, right?

If God says sex out of wedlock is wrong, then you’d better pray that thing doesn’t rip if you’re doing something—or someone—behind his back. He could make you a statistic too, or so they say.

The catch is that not all people march to the beat of the same drummer. There’s a plethora of religions, beliefs and gods that make up our global community, and no matter what you feel, think or hold faith in, there’s no way to prove who’s prescribed to the right belief or who’s wrong. We all could be right, we all could be dead wrong—there’s just no way to really know.

The controversy created over this condom thing boils down to one group telling another that their promoting something they think is wrong. HES is trying to save lives. The religious groups are trying to save souls—but they have no proof that they know how to or even can.

People are going to have sex whether or not you give them condoms—history has proven that. HES can help keep them healthy and alive. Is it right to stand in the way?