Hcc To Allow Distribution Of Condoms On Campus

Faculty Opposition Nixes Dispensers In Restrooms

February 03, 1991|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff writer

Howard Community College officials have decided to allow both the sale and free distribution of condoms on campus but ruled out restroom dispensers in the face of opposition from some faculty members.

College President Dwight A. Burrill approved recommendations by the College Council to ask the County Health Department to bring its "Three for Free" condom distribution program to HCC and to sell the contraceptive devices at the student bookstore.

Burrill said he did not know why the 12-member council rejected arequest from some students for condom dispensers in restrooms.

"What came to me was that some individuals were uncomfortable with that and this seemed to be a good compromise," he said.

The council, which represents students, faculty, support staff and administration,took up the condom issue after student government leaders requested in November that condoms be made available on campus.

Rebecca W. Mihelcic, associate professor of business, voiced opposition to restroom dispensers at a Student Government Association seminar in December. She said she believed coin dispensers would send a message that thecollege condoned sexual activity among students.

Burrill said he could not answer why students would want to go to the bookstore to buy condoms when they could obtain them free in the student activities area. He said he did not know whether the bookstore will stock premium brands not available from the Health Department.

Robert L. Levene, associate dean of students, said condoms are expected to be available on campus sometime during the spring semester.

Levene said thecondoms packets distributed by the Health Department will include information on their use and sexual decisions.

"We are encouraging faculty members to discuss, where appropriate, sexual decision-making," said Levene. He said the topic would be appropriate in biology or psychology classes.

The discussions were suggested by some students, Levene reported. Vladimir G. Marinich, associate dean of instructional support services, also contended at the December meeting that an educational program "more active than the handing out of brochures" was needed.

Levene said he believed the proposal approved by Burrill is satisfactory to students. "From the students I know, that seems to meet what they were looking for. Many of the students seemed concerned that (condoms) not just be given out but that they have some information with it. And as an educational institution, that is appropriate," he said.

County health officials said last week that they had not yet received a request from the community college to make condoms available on campus. The Health Department's current procedure is to provide packets that contain three condoms, a card providing health service information for teen-agers and a brochure on how to use a condom.

Anyone may pick up a packet at health centers in Ellicott City, Columbia and Savage, the department's drug and alcohol center, the Women, Infants and Children's program center, youth resource center in Oakland Mills, mental health offices and administrative offices.

The department is drafting a brochure that will address options in sexual decision-making, reported Cynthia M. Lipsitz, director of the bureau of personal health. She said she is not sure how soon the brochure will be available.

Henrietta "Hank" Dahlstrom, who heads the county health department's medical social work division, said the department distributed 44,568 condoms in the county in 1990.

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