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  • Francesca Pietkiewicz

Condom Confusion Erupts as Machine Vanishes from Campus Toilets

Words by Ethan Manera (he/him) and Francesca Pietkiewicz (she/they) 

A curious condom machine in a men's bathroom on Kelburn campus has vanished following reporting by Salient, with the university sending mixed signals.

The coin operated machine piqued Salient’s interest in April for its retro charm and bizarrely off-branded product. 

When asked back in April, machine co-owner Andrew told us that although he has personally “never worn a condom”, students were eating them up, “It's a well used machine.”

Now, students no longer have the protection of a $2 studded Johnny. The wall in the men’s bathroom on level 1 of the Student Union is bare, with four screw holes left in memory of the metallic money-maker. 

We can't know for sure how many unplanned pregnancies have happened as a result of its removal—we don't even know why it was removed in the first place.

Salient issued a ‘please explain’ to the university. A spokesperson said, “The condom machine in the men’s toilets outside Mauri Ora was removed in late 2022 as it was no longer operational. The university attempted to make contact with the supplier but received no response.”

However, this simply isn't true. Salient has seen evidence that a student purchased a condom from the machine in March this year, and used it successfully. 

When questioned further, the university replied that “although the removal was requested in late 2022, the machine was not actually removed until 12 April 2023”, merely nine days after the publication of our original article.

They also claimed that “the machine was not operational, with its mechanisms, dispenser, and feeder rusted and non-functional. There were no signs of recent replenishment.”

But Neil, the other co-owner of the machine, reckons “that's not true at all”.

He said the machine was fully operational and regularly refilled, claiming it was one of their most successful machines nationwide.  

Neil was contacted by the university two months ago, by “someone who thinks they wield some power” to remove the machine, and says it “was a real shame because it was getting a fair bit of use”.

He said he doesn't want to cause any trouble with the university, he just wants to reinstall the machine and get back to business.

“I’d love to put it back,”Neil said. “If you can pull some strings and get it put back in, I'd be really grateful.” 


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