About three weeks ago, some 15,000 condom coupons were torn from a coupon book that is distributed to returning Boise State students at the campus bookstore. After about five complaints from students, parents and faculty, bookstore director Mike Reed called the publisher and suggested that the coupon books be distributed elsewhere, according to a report in the Arbiter, the campus newspaper.
Rather than lose his choice distribution point at the bookstore, publisher Jeff Brooks, who runs a Kansas company that distributes coupon books at 43 universities, opted to remove the condom coupon—20 percent off any purchase of $5 or more—from each of the books.
University spokesman Frank Zang said the decision was Brooks', but Brooks told BW that he was asked to remove the coupon books from the store and that Reed said the condom ultimatum came from over his head.
"We have Walgreens ads; Walgreens sells them," Brooks said. "It was a pretty tasteful ad; we never really thought it was an issue."
Caryn Thompson, owner of the O!Zone, on Broadway Avenue, has advertised in the coupon book for seven semesters and developed a large following.
"Students kept coming in that weekend and telling me that one parent had complained," Thompson said.
The coupon book also includes offers for tanning salons and nail salons, pizza places, car repair and the Boise State bookstore.
Condoms are available on campus, at the Women's Center and at the Medical Services center.
"This does resonate a little bit with the philosophy we've used here at the health services," said Health, Wellness and Counseling Services director Ferdinand Schlapper.
The university does not blanket the campus with condoms and alcohol and drug awareness programs because it does not want to presume that all students are sexually active or drug and alcohol abusers.
"We let students avail themselves of them," Schlapper said.
The university offers reproductive health classes, which it advertises across campus, and has online instructions for use of a condom.
And, while a supply of condoms is available at the clinic, there is also now a stack of lonely coupons for the O!Zone, in case students want to avail themselves of something with a bit more flavor or ribbing.