Campus, News

Emergency contraceptive vending machine vandalized

The emergency contraceptive vending machine located in the basement of the George Sherman Union was broken Oct. 31, according to Students for Reproductive Freedom.

The out-of-order emergency contraceptive vending machine in the basement of the George Sherman Union. One of the vending machines was vandalized and broken on Oct. 31. BRENDAN NORDSTROM/DFP STAFF

The vending machine was flipped onto the floor, breaking all of the coils holding the contraceptives. The coils were quickly repaired, but the card reader for the machine is currently not working correctly. The machine is currently taking cash, Shana Weitzen, the podcast manager for SRF and a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said.

Weitzen said the organization believes the machine was flipped over by someone who was charged for purchasing a Plan B, but the machine never gave them the contraceptive. 

“Somebody had come to get Plan B and flipped it (the machine) over on its side to try to get the plan B out,” Weitzen said. “Previously, we’ve been having difficulties with the machine, the card reader was kind of iffy. It would work and then sometimes it wouldn’t work.” 

The Plan B vending machine, which originally opened in March 2022, was out of stock for several weeks throughout September and October. It was replaced with a newer machine and SRF announced it would be restocked the week of Oct. 11.

SRF held a relaunch party in BU Central for the new Plan B vending machine Oct. 18 and gave away a variety of different products including emergency contraceptives and safe sex supplies. 

The club posted on Oct. 19 that the machine was stocked. 

Courtney Dunsmuir, the communications representative for SRF, wrote in an email that the Plan B packaging changed and couldn’t fit the old vending machine, but the new one has adjustable shelves.

“The new machine can now hold more product and is outfitted with QR codes from TBD Health to discounted telehealth meetings to get quick prescriptions for the contraceptive Ella along with discounted at home STI testing kits,” said Courtney Dunsmuir, the communications representative for SRF. 

Dunsmuir said SRF wants to reuse the old machine to stock different kinds of products for the BU community. 

Anna Nuchims, a junior in Questrom School of Business, said she was “really glad” to hear about the restocking of the contraceptive vending machine, and that the vandalization of the machine was “really upsetting.”

“It’s so disappointing to me as a woman and a student that it was vandalized,” Nuchims said. “I don’t know if they were able to see who did it but I just hope that there’s going to be some sort of consequences.”

Dunsmuir said since March, more than 1,400 units of Plan B have been sold. 

Audrey Loyack, a senior in the College of Communications, said she is skeptical it was an accident.

“It sadly would not be a surprise to me at all if it wasn’t an accident,” Loyack said.

The SRF has contacted BU Vending and fixed all the coils and arranged the products back into their proper place. 

“We understand people’s frustrations when the machine doesn’t work,” Weitzen said. “Obviously we’ve all worked really hard to have this as a resource and to maintain it as a resource for the student body. I think we all just feel very disrespected by what happened with it. Not only does it affect our work, but it affects the resources for everyone else.”



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