• 64°

The times have changed, but morality appears to be lacking

recently had business at the office of Campus Walk on Hathorn Road, an apartment complex purchased by the University of Mississippi several years ago to provide additional University-owned and operated housing as student enrollment boomed.

While conducting the business that took me there, I happened to look toward the opposite end of the long office counter. At the end of that counter was an old-fashioned, clear glass cookie jar. It was the type of heavy jar, with an offset lid and knob for easy access, that took me back to my childhood. I couldn’t quite make out what the jar held, so I walked down to see.

It was full of condoms in individual, shiny gold wrappers.

Astonished, I turned back to the complex manager and asked the only question I could think of… “Is this standard operating procedure for University housing?”

The young manager smiled and said slowly, as if he were talking to a child who wouldn’t understand, “We have very active students here.” He put emphasis on the word “very.”

In fact I didn’t understand. I asked again, and he assured me that the University not only sanctioned the open distribution of prophylactics but that he received them from the Student Housing Department with instructions to do so.

I still don’t understand, and the visit to that office has haunted me ever since.

As a Christian, I am deeply troubled that the University openly encourages promiscuity. As an alumnus (BA, MA) I am disappointed that the administration has deemed handing out condoms like well, cookies, the best way to address the current trend of “hooking up” for casual sex.

And as a former University employee (Public Relations and Publications, 1983-95) I’m honestly thankful I no longer work there. I can imagine trying to reassure parents who arrived to check their daughter into Campus Walk after they encountered that big jar of condoms.

Times have certainly changed. Morality is constant. Put any PR spin you wish on the University’s way of presumably preventing sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy, and it still doesn’t meet that measure.

Tom Hoar

College Hill