With the removal of over 2,000 Campus Mail Center (CMC) mailboxes, the Safe Sex Express Order service — which is intended to provide anonymous safer sex supplies to students — is in danger of losing its anonymity protections.
Safe Sex Express was designed by the UR Student Health Advisory Committee (URSHAC) in 2015 to meet students’ needs for anonymous access to free safer sex supplies. The service provides external condoms, internal condoms, water-based and silicone-based lubricants, dental dams, and finger cots.
Typically, students fill out an order form to request specific supplies, and orders are delivered to their CMC box within five to seven business days in “discreet packaging.” But the Mailing Center’s removal of CMC boxes has changed the way the program works. Now, students must walk up to the front desk where packages are received and request their mail, including the UHS Safe Sex Express packages that were previously delivered to mailboxes.
Students raised concerns about the new procedure’s lack of discretion. Orders are still delivered in white, unmarked envelopes. However, some students are still worried that the bulk and thickness of the packages will betray that anonymity.
“Since they removed their mailboxes, the only way people can get their mail is coming to us, and when it’s a Safe Sex Express Order, it’s very clear the condoms are in there because of the feel and the size of the envelope,” said senior Carter Hasenoehrl, a CMC employee.
To gather student perspectives, the online order form was recently edited to include a question asking students if the mailbox changes have decreased their willingness to use the Safe Sex Express program.
UHS Director Ralph Manchester addressed concerns regarding the anonymity of the program.
“The vending machine is readily available for students who don’t want to interact with someone,” he said. “However, the number of students making requests has not gone down.”
Students can find free sex supplies at UHS’ new 24-hour vending machine in their lobby, at the Campus Information Center, and in all residence halls.