IDAHO — Thedecision to remove 15,000 condom coupons from coupon booklets distributed atBoise State’s on-campus bookstore, welcomed the “C” word– censorship — on campus.
Now, 15,000 coupons for the O!zone, a condom shop offering 20 percent offany purchase of $5 or more, wait to be picked up at the campus’ health services.
Caryn Thompson, owner of O!zone, has advertised with The Arbiter,Boise State’s student newspaper, since the store opened in 1998 and hashad coupons distributed in the booklet for the past seven semesters.
Thompson heard from faculty and students on Aug. 22 that the coupons werebeing removed from the booklets, but Mike Reed, the bookstore director, toldThompson on Aug. 25.The publisher of the coupon booklets, Brooks Publishing,notified Thompson of the removal and refunded her money.
However, Thompson believes the censoring of the coupon booklets was adecision made by the university, not the publisher.
“Boise State has been distributing [the booklets] for severalyears,” said Frank Zang, Boise State director of communications andmarketing. “It’s usually available at the checkout counter at thebookstore. We have no financial agreement with the publisher.”
Zang said several complaints, including five separate complaints heard byone bookstore manager, were made in response to the condom coupon.
Zang denied university involvement for the removal of the coupons.
“We just relayed complaints to the publisher,” he said.”It was a decision made by the publishing company.”
The Boise State University Bookstore, in response to the complaints,contacted Jeff Brooks, CEO of Brooks Publishing in Lenexa, Kan.
“They didn’t tell us to take the pages out,” said Brooks.”They told us they would not distribute the booklets as they were.”
Brooks said since the bookstore is a major distribution site, the companyhad to work with the university.
Brooks hired two temporary workers to tear out the 15,000 coupons.
“The owner was very upset,” he said. “We did refund hermoney.”
As a result of the removed coupons, Thompson placed an ad in TheArbiter, inviting readers back to the store and offering the same discountas stated on the bookstore-banned coupons.
Andrea Geske, an 18-year-old freshman at Boise State, did not hear aboutthe coupons being removed until the story ran on the front page of TheArbiter.
“It’s ridiculous that the coupons were removed. Apparently,some people think that, although college students are adults, we are stillincapable of making our own choices,” she said. “The condom couponswere a good idea, but who am I to suggest that college students are grown enoughto know their reproductive options.”
All of the booklets have been distributed, as they were part of welcomingstudents back to school.
“It’s just a very silly thing to have censored,” Geskesaid.