It seems that too often lately we are reminded that, while generally alright in a few contexts and tolerable in most others, human beings have it in us to be truly terrible. This past week a notice was issued that free condoms offered in UFV bathrooms had been tampered with by a yet unknown individual. I’m not sure what exactly would compel someone to tamper with condoms, or really any service that is being provided to ensure the health and well-being of people in our community, but they did and it’s tragic. Yes, people make mistakes, but it takes intent and willful disregard for everyone around you to make this one. Whoever it was, I hope you face the consequences, but just as importantly, I hope you deal with whatever it was that put you in the mindset to do this.
As terrible as this situation is however, it is also an opportunity to showcase some good being done by members of our community, and a platform to further promote healthy living and safe sex. There wouldn’t have been condoms to tamper with without someone taking the time and initiative to provide them. What you should take away is that seeing a need that wasn’t being met, it was student groups that stepped up to provide contraceptives in our bathrooms. It was fellow students who thought of others and then acted on it. The free condoms were being supplied by student groups like Pride since the summer of 2014, with the Student Life department helping out recently as well. It’s great to see that as apathetic as we might be in some ways, this is a campus where people are truly thinking of each other.
It’s not ideal, but this whole situation is a wakeup call that can lead to better services being offered in the future. This is a sentiment I’ve seen echoed by many other students, who although dismayed at the situation that led us here are adamant in continuing to support a safer and healthier culture on campus. Already the Student Union Society has committed to providing safer sex supplies in both their Abbotsford and Chilliwack campus’ during operational hours. There are plans in place to eventually have secure dispensers installed in the Student Union Building washrooms as soon as possible. It would be great to see departments on campus also put a focus on safe sex practice awareness campaigns that can get students actively thinking about their health throughout the year.
While this will have immediate consequences for the individuals affected, who we should all support in any way we can, there is also the risk of a lasting damage to communal trust on campus. This isn’t the first act to damage that trust, and knowing what we know it might not be the last. Between politics, protest, and the inevitable conflict that comes from competing ideas we can often as a community find ourselves at odds as to what to do. All I urge is that we keep our eyes forward, be more mindful and careful of human failures, but also encouraging of the good we are capable of together and for each other.