By DEB GRUVER J-W Staff Wroter
Beginning in January, students at Kansas University will be able to buy condoms from vending machines in residence halls.
For several years, students urged the KU administration to permit the sale of condoms in campus vending machines but were opposed by Judith Ramaley, former executive vice chancellor who is now president of Portland State University in Oregon.
At a Student Senate meeting Wednesday, David Ambler, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Mike Schreiner, president of the student body, announced that students had won the long-fought battle.
KU Concessions will begin stocking condoms in existing snack machines next semester. Ambler said the decision came after serious consideration by the administration.
"We've had a very responsible AIDS education committee, and that committee had recommended that we consider broadening the distribution program," he explained.
Ambler said the administration hopes condom distribution, based on a program at the University of Minnesota, will contribute to responsible sexual behavior.
"The university remains firm on our belief that our primary thrust must be education," Ambler said. "We don't want this to be a cover for irresponsible behavior."
THE STUDENT victory carries three caveats. Condoms will be removed if vending machines are heavily vandalized or if they affect the financial stability of KU Concessions.
In addition, they won't be sold during the summer months, when the residence halls house younger students for summer camps and workshops.
"During the summer, when the residence halls are not operating for KU students, the condoms will be removed because most of the students who stay in the residence halls during the summer are minors," Ambler said. "We felt that wouldn't be appropriate."
Condoms will not be sold in vending machines in scholarship halls, Ambler said, because vending machine sales are lower in KU's eight scholarship halls. Each scholarship hall houses about 50 students.
"We don't want it to be a financial liability to KU Concessions," Ambler said. "In place of one thing, you're selling something else. We can't let the condoms detract from the overall financial stability of KU Concessions."
Schreiner added that scholarship hall residents voted against the sale of condoms in an earlier referendum.
Bob Walter, vending supervisor for KU Concessions, said the vending machines will probably feature the same brand of condoms now available at Watkins Student Health Center. The Kansas Union Bookstore also sells condoms. The price of the vending machine condoms has not been determined.
WALTER SAID he doesn't believe vandalism to vending machines will increase when the condoms appear next to potato chips and candy bars.
"I don't think there will be any problems," Walter said.
Both Ambler and Walter said one of the main advantages for students will be that they no longer will have to face a sales clerk to buy condoms.
"It's going to do some good," Walter said. "You can wait until there's no one around and then quickly push the button."