Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Cupid & Condoms: How to protect yourself this V-Day


Condoms are the most common form of contraception on Seattle University campus and the same trend appears on most college campuses, according to the National College Health Assessment. With Valentine’s Day upon us, partners interested in getting intimate this holiday are looking to condoms and other contraceptives for safe sex practices.

Seattle U, congruent with its Catholic Jesuit values, does not distribute condoms on campus. According to the written Distribution of Contraceptive Devices Policy in the Code of Student Conduct Section 4.18:

“As a Jesuit Catholic institution, Seattle University prohibits the distribution of contraceptives/contraceptive devices in any form on Seattle University… and at University-sponsored events. Seattle University respects the personal decisions individuals and their healthcare providers may make regarding contraceptives/contraceptive devices and in no way prohibits their possession or use.”

According to 2017 National College Health Assessment (NCHA), 56 percent of Seattle U students used some method of contraception the last time they had vaginal intercourse.

Of these students, 57 percent used a male condom. About half of those students using a male condom also employed an additional method of contraception such as birth control pills or intrauterine devices (IUDs).


Although they are not distributed on campus, Condoms remain one of the top contraceptive methods for students.

Jane Rohr, a junior psychology major and Health and Wellness Crew (HAWC) member, uses this data to lead informed programming around safe sex practices and contraception usage.

“We did not experience any backlash to our events. There are certain resources that we cannot use, like Planned Parenthood, because they are associated in the public eye as a resource to talk about abortion and abortion does not coincide with Seattle U’s Jesuit afiliation,” Rohr said.

At the event and in the Wellness and Health Promotion Office, HAWC provided resources from Lifelong, a local community health organization committed to empowering people living with or at risk of contracting HIV and other chronic illnesses.

The Wellness and Health Promotion Office on the third floor of the Student Center supplies free packets of non-spermicidal lube donated by Lifelong. Students can also access all of Lifelong’s resources at 1016 E. Pike St. on the third floor including free HIV testing and condoms.

Both Lifelong and Harborview Medical Center and Walgreens Pharmacy on 11th Ave. provide free condoms within walking distance from the school.

“I just want to get the information to the students,” Rohr said. “We talked openly about contraceptives at our events, what they are and the different types, and all the scientific data around them.”

For sexually active people, condoms are the only way to protect against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Some on campus have called into question the university policy to not distribute condoms, which they say is valued over students’ health. With that said, STD testing is available in the Student Health Center on campus.

“Many STDs have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that can be explained away as something else. Students can discuss with their nurse practitioner how frequently they should be tested,” said Tara Hicks, Director of the Student Health Center and nurse practitioner.

Hicks said most students are able to get an appointment at the Student Health Center within a week for routine appointments, and sooner if they’re experiencing symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.

In the seven years that Hicks has been with the Student Health Center, condoms have not been distributed.


Although they are not distributed on campus, Condoms remain one of the top contraceptive methods for students.

However, the health center does not have restrictions in what they can prescribe or discuss with patients regarding sexual health and community resources. Students are referred elsewhere for pregnancy prevention such as IUDs or implants.

“The desire to help keep the students at Seattle University safe around sexual health is a value we share with the community,” Hicks said. “The important points to be clear on is that the possession or use of contraceptives/contraceptive devices are not prohibited and students are encouraged to have a conversation with their healthcare provider, which includes the nurse practitioners in the Student Health Center.”

Referring back to the 2017 NCHA data—a resource anyone can access online or through the Wellness and Health Promotion Office—15.9 percent of Seattle University undergraduate respondents who had vaginal sex in the last 30 days reported always using a condom or other protective barrier.

This data is consistent with the national average at 15.5 percent. In, addition, 66 percent of Seattle U undergraduate respondents who had anal sex in the last 30 days reported never using a condom or other protective barrier. This coincides with the national average of 60 percent.

“What we know is most important when it comes to STD prevention or pregnancy is correct and consistent usage of any contraceptive method chosen,” said Ryan Hamachek, Director of Wellness and Health Promotion. “Abstinence only works when you are doing it consistently and correctly, just like a condom.”

For students who choose not to remain abstinent, resources on and off-campus are available to empower them with healthy sex practices and protection, 100 percent of the time.

Jacqueline may be reached at
[email protected]

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Jacqueline Lewis, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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