Condoms will be handed out to first-year students at St. Thomas University after all. In July, the St. Thomas Students’ Union was told by Residence Life that they could not include condoms in Welcome Week kits alongside t-shirts, clip boards, and information about the campus, on the grounds that it was against university policy. Condoms were readily available elsewhere on campus, and incoming students had more important things to worry about during their first week, the students’ union was told. When it was discovered that no such policy existed, STU president Dennis Cochrane struck a committee on student health to look into the matter.
Background: Condom controversy at STU
The ten member committee, composed of various campus constituencies, including four students, recommended that condoms could be handed out during orientation week. “The committee supports the proposal to include a sample condom, accompanied by appropriate sexual health education materials, in the package for incoming first year students. The committee further recommends that there be an enhanced focus on providing sexual health education information to all students,” the recommendation, which was made public this week reads.
President Cochrane has accepted the proposal, making it official university policy.
“I’m certainly pleased that [the] committee agreed and recommended the inclusion of condoms in the Welcome Week kits,” student president Ella Henry said. “It’s also encouraging that the university plans to work to improve sexual health education and access to condoms on campus beyond Welcome Week.”
In coming to its conclusion, the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Health reviewed policy at other maritime universities. The University of New Brunswick which shares its Fredericton campus with St. Thomas, has handed out condoms during orientation for years. In fact, St. Thomas itself had permitted condom distribution during Welcome Week in some previous years.