Pembroke condom cock-up

OUSU contraceptive change brings questions after students receive unexpectedly small welfare condoms

Students at Pembroke College have been left embarrassed and confused after receiving condoms supplied to them by the JCR and OUSU that were much smaller than advertised.

Undergraduates who picked up the Manix Mates Conform condoms from the JCR contraceptive dispenser found them 20 milimetres shorter than the Durex Pleasure Max previously supplied, without warning from the JCR welfare team.

With a circumference twelve per cent smaller than their Durex counterparts, the Manix condoms have created some problems for members of the undergraduate body.

One Pembroke student, who did not want to be named, told Cherwell: “The condoms were hard to put on and felt quite uncomfortable. It was slightly embarrassing that it took me so long to put one on!

“This is not a problem I had had before, so it was a strange experience.”

Pembroke JCR Welfare rep, Immie Hobby, said she realised it was a “widespread problem” when she started to receive more and more messages complaining about the condoms’ size.

She later explained that changes on the OUSU welfare order form, seen by Cherwell, were to blame.

“We ordered as usual from OUSU, but they’ve got a different supplier.

“Messages start rolling in from people like: ‘have you tried the new condoms yet? Have you heard anything weird? Because they’re just a bit small. My girlfriend’s coming next weekend.’”

OUSU’s supplies have changed since Durex condoms stopped being sold to non-mainstream outlets, Cherwell learned.

“OUSU have ten different options— there are some thinner ones, bigger ones,” explained Hobby.

“But this is just the standard set that we usually get, and it’s the College welfare reps’ job across the University to fill in the supply form. OUSU decide what goes on the supply form.”

She added: “They were too small for […] a good number of people.

“They [OUSU] just put trust in the supplier, and this is what has happened. These are the direct consequences.”

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Sandy Downs, OUSU Vice- President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, told Cherwell that she was “concerned” about the issues at Pembroke College: “Good sexual health is very important and OUSU is proud of the work it’s done in supplying subsidised products to students.

“This is the first I’ve heard of this issue, but if you have any concerns please contact me or your welfare officer who can contact me on your behalf.

“OUSU did indeed change condom supplier this year, as the previous products ordered are no longer produced, but your welfare officers were notified of this change and all packets remain clearly labelled with their size and are of the same quality as before.”

The issue is yet to be resolved, with smaller condoms still on offer from the college’s vending machine.

“We’re going to go back to OUSU and say: there’s a problem here,” Hobby said.

“The larger men at Pembroke have been let down. For the time being, the welfare team are refunding members of the college who buy their own contraception, which is much more expensive for the JCR that using OUSU-supplied condoms.”