The IU Student Government (IUSG), which represents undergraduate students at Indiana University Bloomington, budgeted $30,000 this year to subsidize purchases of emergency contraception. They also established a “student health care” fund to continue the initiative, and budgeted for other sex items.
The Mandatory Student Activity Fee funds the IUSG.
“Thus far, this program has been able to help over 900 students access emergency contraception at no cost,” according to the website. “To ensure programs such as this can continue into the future, IUSG created the Student Healthcare Fund endowment.”
There does not appear to be any qualifications, such as financial need, that are necessary to receive the contraceptives free of charge.
“I can attest to the wastefulness of the contraceptive budget IU has funded, especially since most college women are on birth control nowadays,” said Grace Simcox, a sophomore at IU majoring in philosophy and religious studies.
The IUSG operates the fund in consultation with the Division of Student Affairs and accepts donations through the Indiana University Foundation, Inc.
The contraceptive initiative was created by Kyle Seibert and Bell Pastore in collaboration with the Student Health Center in response to Roe v. Wade being overturned, according to the Indiana Daily Student.
Student concerns around campus culture surrounding sex
Some students pointed out that this initiative might encourage the same cultural issues regarding sex on campus that contribute to a high rate of sexual assault and harassment.
“Clearly, IU’s culture devalues the sexual act, which can be seen through the need for funding programs such as the Campaign for Survivors and the Red Zone Initiative,” said Maria Thomas, an IU freshman majoring in marketing.
The programs Thomas mentioned address sexual assault on campus, as there were more than 24 cases of rape at Indiana University during the 2022-2023 school year. The IUSG budgeted only $20,000 for them.
Furthermore, 26 percent of undergraduate women and 18 percent of undergraduate men reported being sexually harassed on campus in 2019, while 18 percent of undergraduate women and 12 percent of undergraduate men reported experiencing attempted or completed non-consensual sexual penetration.
“It’s sad to see them funding emergency contraceptives, which only contribute to a casual and detrimental attitude towards the both act itself and the other person in the situation,” said Thomas. “IU is undercutting its own efforts towards a safer, more respectful school environment.”
Other budget items
The IUSG budgeted an additional $10,000 for the Safer Sex Express, which pays for and mails condoms and lubricant to students, even when classes are not in session. The sign-up form emphasizes that their products can be used for “sex on a penis and with toys,” and up to 15 products can be ordered at a time.
“It’s obscene to think that my university is promoting sexual behaviors, but disguising it as a safety protocol,” said Simcox. “Many sororities keep a bowl of condoms in their bathroom, and one of the most popular pizza places will go so far as include a handful in the pizza box so long as you request a certain topping.”
The total annual budget for the student government is $210,000. The largest expense listed on their budget was “transfers for policy dept activities,” for $67,900. It is unclear what these activities are. The Collegiate Commons reached out to the IUSG for comment, and this article will be updated accordingly.