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Time to wrap up the issue of condom availability on Miami’s campus

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

If the 2014-2015 academic year has shown anything, it's that Miami students like to be No. 1. Miami University is No. 1 one in Ohio for study abroad, No. 1 in Ohio for undergraduate teaching and recently, Forbes magazine ranked Oxford No. 1 on a list of the best college towns in the United States.

Miami students, like other college students in the U.S., also like to have sex. A study by the Guttmacher Institute revealed that more than 71 percent of 19-year-olds nationwide have engaged in sexual intercourse at least once.

However, according to the Trojan 2014 Sexual Health Report Card, an annual ranking of sexual health resources at U.S. colleges and universities, Miami University ranked 83 out of 141 schools.

Compared to other Ohio schools, like Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati - both ranked 23rd and 46th on Trojan's list, respectively - Miami has relatively poor sexual health, one factor of which is condom availability.

At Miami, resident advisers in dorms and the Office of Student Wellness in the Student Health Center offer condoms for free. However, the health center is sequestered to a single building in an inconvenient place on campus.

More central, convenient markets such as Emporium in Armstrong and Market Street at MacCracken sell a number of basic drugstore items, but no condoms.

Is it an image thing? Does Miami not want parents or Make It Miami tours to see them sold?

Any innocent bystander studying in Armstrong on a Friday or Saturday night will see a drunken exodus of students migrating from Uptown to their dorms on Western or Central Quad - many of whom are going to have sex.

Other universities accept this.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which Trojan ranked 6th, started selling condoms in the vending machines in their dorms.

If students need them, why not sell them? Selling condoms on campus won't change anything about the fact that students have sex, and it won't promote the act - but it will make it safer.

On Monday, the Journal-News reported that cases of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease, in Butler County spiked 775 percent, from just four cases in 2007 to 35 cases in 2014. As of March, 12 cases of syphilis have been reported in 2015.

Condom availability is essential for student safety and should be a necessity for Miami. In October 2013, the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada released a study showing that only 51 percent of sexually active college students were using condoms during sex.

One reason for this may be the increased availability of oral contraceptives, like birth control pills and Plan B (the morning-after pill).

"We sell about 31 boxes of Plan B a week. We sell out of the product almost every weekend," CVS pharmacist Renee Hayes said in a November 2013 story for The Miami Student. "They are mostly sold on Saturdays and Sundays. They are also very popular after holidays or popular campus events."

The reason emergency contraceptives are so popular could be due to the lack of condom availability on campus. Buying condoms at CVS, Walgreens or Kroger might be easy for students living off-campus who own cars; however, for first-years and sophomores on campus who don't live near a drug store or own a car, taking chances becomes a real choice.

Apart from the benefits of encouraging safe sex, selling condoms on Miami's campus would be advantageous for everyone involved. The idea of selling condoms in Emporium or Market Street in MacCracken is just practical.

A box of Tampax regular 10-count sells for $3.65 at Emporium, but the suggested retail price is $2.35 - a 64 percent markup in price. It is safe to say that Miami could markup a pack of Trojan condoms 200 percent and students would still buy them.

Knowing Miami, though, we would probably just try to make our own brand.

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