Free condoms available at UFV’s Chilliwack and Abbotsford campuses may have been tampered with, and UFV is advising that students take caution.
The university emailed a health advisory to all students on Friday afternoon, saying that the condoms “may not be effective as birth control or as protection against sexually transmitted diseases.”
The university was told about the incident just before 4:00 p.m. on Friday when a student saw another student tamper with the condoms in a women’s washroom in the Student Union Building on UFV’s Abbotsford campus.
“Someone else witnessed a student in a women’s washroom poking with a pin a hole in the condoms that were sitting out on the counter,” vice president student Jody Gordon said.
The original report came from a third party, and an investigation of the incident has been launched.
“Hopefully the witness comes forward and we can get to the bottom of the investigation,” Gordon said. “If they know who is involved with this then we need to be speaking with that individual.”
“We’re concerned that there’s someone in our community that’s hurting and as a result is being destructive,” Gordon continued. “We want to, first and foremost, make sure they’re safe and provide support, and restitution would be part of this as holding someone accountable and helping them see that this behaviour is unacceptable.”
The condoms were provided by UFV’s student life department and have been available since September 1 at the Peer Resource and Leadership Centre and all washrooms in the Student Union Building in Abbotsford, the reception of Baker House, and the Student Life lounge in Chilliwack.
“We don’t want [student’s] income, or their lack of income, to be a barrier to them engaging in healthy, safe sex,” Gordon said. “We’ve always felt, and this is in support of the steps that the Student Union is taking and a number of our student clubs, that the university can also be a partner in that support.”
The 250 remaining condoms have been removed and will not be replaced, but instead will be available at SUS’ offices on both campuses, as well as the reception areas of Baker House and Student Life, during operating hours until dispensers can be installed in washrooms.
“We want to bring condoms back but we have to make sure that they’re dispensed safely,” Gordon said. “The idea behind it being in the washrooms was that it’s discreet. You can walk into Student Life and grab some, but that’s embarrassing for a younger person to do that and having them in washrooms was a nice, easy, stigma-free way to ensure that students were being safe.”
A statement issued by SUS on Monday says that the dispensers, which were planned to be installed in January 2017, will hopefully be in place by late November.
“The Student Union was already in the process of looking to get dispensers so this was the interim solution to a long-term plan and they just hadn’t finished sourcing the dispensers,” Gordon explained. “They’ll be free and we’ll continue from Student Life to be the ones to make sure they’re stocked, so it’s a good partnership.”
The health advisory, which was also posted to UFV’s website, recommended that any students concerned about their health contact their family doctor.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact student life director Kyle Baillie at firstname.lastname@example.org.