Condom availability on campus: Is it sufficient?

ASU says they promote safe sex, but many students disagree

ASU advertises and promotes safe sex on campus, but how easy is it for students to get protection?

According to the school’s website, ASU offers free condoms at its health services offices, but the hours are limited - not open on Sundays and never open after 6 p.m. On Saturdays, only one campus location is open for six hours.

  • Tempe Campus 
    • Health Services Building: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • ASU Health Services South: Monday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    • ASU Health Services at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex: Monday and Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Downtown Phoenix Campus
    • Nursing and Health Innovation Building: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Polytechnic Campus
    • Adjoined to the SDFC: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • West Campus
    • University Center Building, Room 190: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bobby Fry, a medical assistant at the Downtown campus' Health Services office, said condoms are easily accessible to students in the office. They are located in a basket in the lobby to avoid the awkwardness of asking someone for a condom.

"Students come to get condoms fairly often," he said. "Mostly every day we see students coming in to take them."

According to Sexual Health, the Taylor Place dorms in downtown had condom dispensers until 2011. They said University funding was cut for the machines, but that student organizations had the option to use their individual budgets to keep the dispensers.

They didn't keep the dispensers.

Many current students are not happy about the lack of availability.

Alyssa Tong, a biology sophomore, said condom availability was not advertised around the Barrett community in Tempe, where she lived her freshman year.

"They made us go to a one-hour session about sex, and they gave condoms out after that, but other than that, there was nothing," she said. "Sometimes when groups were tabling around campus, I'd see them, but it wasn't often."

Tong now lives in the Vista del Sol apartments near the Tempe campus, and she said that the Walmart on campus there sells condoms.

Health education junior Marisa LeBret said she thinks condom availability on campus is too low for the number of students living here.

"(Condoms) are available in the health services office in a bowl and the Well Devil Ambassadors that live in Taylor Place have them as well," she said. "With the number of students living on campus and attending classes, the availability is out of proportion."

LeBret said she thinks another issue with ASU's condom distribution system is that there isn't much education involved. When you go to get a condom, it is usually just handed to you with no information about how to properly use it or any materials about safe sex.

"Dorm residents may trust their Community Assistant (CA) and feel okay about asking them for condoms rather than seeking out someone they don't know," she said. "However, not everyone is comfortable educating and possibly demonstrating how to use them."

She said she thinks that the education aspect is just as important as the protection itself.

Ashley McDonald, a criminal justice sophomore, said she believes the fact that ASU was named the school with the most sexually transmitted diseases in the country proves that this is an issue.

"There are so many people who are having unprotected sex and ASU was ranked as number one for STDs in the country," she said. "Partying and sex happens at every university, so ASU should be addressing the issue and helping students to have safe sex."

One solution McDonald suggested was having the CA's in each dorm have a box of free condoms outside of their dorms, so students can access them at any time of day (or night). 

She also suggested that condoms be sold in the convenience stores on campus.

"I think that they should be sold in the markets," she said. "People would be more willing to buy condoms with M&> than to go to CVS and spend $17 on a box of Magnums."


Reach the reporters at aegeland@asu.edu or klvanber@asu.edu or follow @alexisegeland or @kaetlin_vanberk on Twitter.

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