TRUE FACT: A recent study indicates that 95% of all “pouring-rights” contracts between large state universities and beverage companies such as Coke and Pepsi include provisions that reward schools for selling more drinks and/or penalize them if they don’t meet a minimum sales quota (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 22, p. 8).
Less well-known, but potentially more disturbing, are merchandising agreements involving other products sold on college campuses.
For example, Trojan is the “official condom” of the University of Mississippi. Whenever an undergraduate buys a package of Trojans, his or her major is automatically recorded at the checkout counter. Each month during the school year, the academic department with the highest number of Trojan purchases per student receives $7,500 (plus one sex toy) for its discretionary use.
“It’s a win-win,” claims Matthew T. Farrell, CEO of the Church & Dwight Company, manufacturer of Trojans. “Departments encourage students to have more sex, and safer sex, and that results in the departments benefiting financially. In April we ran a special promotion for Trojan Ultra-Ribbed, and the demand was so frenzied that the campus bookstore had to extend its hours until 11:30 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. The lines were out the door and halfway around the quad. Couples were holding hands while they waited. Heck, even Math and Engineering majors showed up. I’m getting emotional just talking about it.”
Not everyone at Ole Miss is thrilled with this arrangement. The University chaplain believes that the incentive program “rewards fornication and debauchery among young people. College students should view their bodies as sacred temples, not as throbbing, spasmodic Silly Putty. Moreover, I don’t think it’s right for academic departments to put big posters on their office doors asking, ‘Have you had sex today? Why not?’ And don’t get me started on the disgusting collateral litter that the housekeeping and facilities staff have to deal with every Monday morning inside and outside of the residence halls.”
Things could be worse. Check out the Frequent Snorter Program that Middlebury College has developed in collaboration with Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa drug cartel.