Target Publication: Jezebel
Word Count: 805 (without event)
The US is obsessed with Plan B, Abortion and other such things right now (aka, as always) and the current debates have sparked us all. At one little school in the homey Midwest, Kalamazoo College, is pushing the trend with a new on-campus group: S3A. Which stands for Sexual Safety and Support Alliance, is avoiding all the ridiculous drugstore prices and has managed to get real live students to sell Plan B for 15 bucks!
Let me state that I indeed, attend the college, called “K” by its student, and despite not having bought Plan B myself, I did make a stressful trek with a friend in my first-year to get the pill. This is rockin’ for college students. Not just at Kalamazoo, but for every student that ever had to wasted dollars and time getting their hands on this pill.
As part of my investigation, this reporter called the nearest drugstore to K College- a full 18 minutes walk away- and then suffered through 11 minutes phone call to discover the pill costs 47 dollars and some change. A grand 32 dollars more than the campus group can sell it for.
The group started selling the emergency contraception at the beginning of the spring trimester, in March, amongst the ongoing court cases regarding the FDA. Judge Edward Korman most recently ruled to have the drug carried on drugstore shelves to all women over the age of 15, which will stay in effect until the current appeal by the Justice Department is ruled upon.
Unlike other campuses like Shippensburg University, which gained national attention for a Plan B vending machine, K avoided many troubles by allowing students to sell the pill. At Shippensburg, questions were raised over the availability of the drug to non-University students or students under the previous FDA requirement of 17-years of age. The school now makes students swipe their student ID before purchase, and the price is still much higher than at K College, 25 dollars.
Rachel Evans, a Junior at K and one of the first members of S3A told me the campus Health Center, who has always offered the pill for that price, said: “It’s a problem because they’re only open until 4 or 5 every day, and not on the weekends.” (And, duh, on most college campuses, when do students have time for sex other than the weekends?)
S3A created after administrators decided the campus needed space for sexual assault survivors. Evans explains she and her 8 co-workers aim to: “Be an open ear for people and if people do want to do something about [sexual assault], like pursue it in the legal system or at school, we can help them with that.”
Morgan Mahdavi, another Junior at the school, is involved with a furthering of S3A’s mission, is hoping to capitalize on the schools open-mindedness. [Insert events of Wed’s meeting on a Sexual Assault support group planning meeting plus interview with Morgan-already conducted].
Wait, can we come back to that this campus is in the Mid-West? K College is only a couple hours south of “A baby dies every 10 seconds” and other overt anti-abortion and pro-life campaigners. As Evans, who is from Ann Arbor sums up: “This is a somewhat conservative side of the state at least, and I don’t know how comfortable people would be going to the drugstore.” Yet, for some strange and unknown reason, the students and some members of the administration for this kind of cutting edge discussion to occur on campus.
“These issues are coming to the forefront…it’s becoming something that a lot of people on campus are very comfortable talking about and able to discuss. It amazes me,” Mahdavi said, sitting in Biggby Coffee, the coffee joint hidden in a corner of K Colleges Library.
Even men, who are often excluded from discussions or understanding of sexual assault or are somehow perceived as outsiders in this discussion, are getting in the loop at K. During Take Back the Night (which every reader should know about), the yearly event where women speak up about sexual assault and march the streets to reclaim spaces typically seen as unsafe for women, a men’s group on the campus promoted an event to help men understand their role in the fight against sexual assault.
Mahdavi, who spoke about her own experiences with sexual assault at K’s Take Back the Night event on May 13th, said: “Men here are coming into consciousness and are able to discuss these things. Creating a place where this is normal and support is normal.”
We should all wish that our schools have a Plan B for us, because we’re learning, and sometimes we mess up. Oh wait, my school already does.