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HSA Board Vetoes Selling Contraceptives in Union


The Board of Directors of Harvard Student Agencies (HSA) yesterday ended all chances that HSA would sell condoms and vaginal foams at its concession stand in the Freshman Union.

In a compromise motion, the directors decided to sell condoms from a vending machine at the University Health Services, pending UHS's approval.

The Board rejected the proposal to avoid "adverse publicity," Arthur I. Segel '73, president of HSA, said yesterday. He added that the directors' approval would have been useless. He said they sensed that "the Administration wouldn't let us do it anyway."

L. Fred Jewett '57, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid and a member of the Board, said yesterday that selling contraceptives in the Union would offend some people. Jewett voted against the sale proposal but in favor of the compromise.

Legal Implications

Dr. Warren E. Wacker, director of UHS, said yesterday he was not opposed to selling condoms at UHS as long as all legal implications are first worked out.

HSA sold condoms at the stand earlier this year but stopped after learning that the sales violated Massachusetts law. Several weeks later the United States Supreme Court ruled the state statute unconstitutional.

Segel said, "I was slightly disturbed that the Administration is as stodgy as I thought it was." John B. Gordon '73, manager of the HSA concession stand, said yesterday that he too was disappointed by the Board's vote.

One of HSA's student directors, Connie Cervilla '74, said yesterday that the proposal had been voted down because of alumni response to it and because the directors "are not too keen on upsetting people" during HSA's current financial drive.

She said that the vote on the first motion--to ask the University's permission to sell condoms in the Union--was about two-to-one against, with five directors abstaining. Cervilla noted that the vending machines will not contain vaginal foam.

Gordon said that he argued in the meeting that condoms could help prevent venereal disease. He cited statistics on VD and commented that he knew of two people who contracted VD during their freshman year.

The condoms would have been sold at the stand at three for 25 cents, a price three times lower than is charged at local pharmacies, Gordon said. He said that he wanted to sell the contraceptives as a service, not as a money-making venture.

Jewett, in explaining the Board's decision, said. "HSA as a business organization is trying to develop good will" with the people serves.

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