Last Saturday night I met a lovely HBS girl at the bar. I admit this was highly unusual-the nice HBS girl, not me meeting one in a bar-but even I get lucky some times. She came back to my place “for coffee,” we moved from the couch to the bed and things were going great…until I reached for the top drawer of my nightstand and discovered an empty packet of rubbers. This was a disaster: an empty packet of rubbers wouldn’t be a problem if I lived off campus-I would cross the road to the CVS-there’s one on every corner. But, when you live at One Western Ave, you have about as much access to birth control as an Irish nun. Seriously, would you consider crossing JFK bridge to get to the 7eleven at 2 a.m. in the weather we’ve had recently?
The lack of condom vending machines at HBS is, at best, massively irresponsible and at worst, a scary indicator of the school’s unnecessary post-puritan morality. Let’s face it: HBSers are going to have sex. Okay, some HBS guys are beyond help, but most HBSers are going to have sex. And surely the administration has a duty to encourage students to be safe? Nowadays, even high schools have condom vending machines; why not HBS?
There are a few good reasons for a change in policy.
First, pregnancy for an HBS woman could have devastating career effects. It would almost certainly preclude a job in investment banking and lost career earnings could run to millions. The opportunity cost is massive. This is something that we should all care about, if not due to compassion, due to the fact that graduate salaries factor into several b-school ranking methodologies. Perhaps more frightening are the negative consequences for the HBS guy (joyously planning a carefree summer impressing girls in New York bars during his Wall Street internship) who finds out that his night of passion with an impressionable BC student has resulted in a new joint venture that he had not accounted for.
Second, there is the possibility of sexually transmitted disease. HBS insists that all students are vaccinated against Hepatitis B and have a full (and very nearly emotionally disturbing) medical before they can matriculate, but I hardly think that this is a sufficient substitute for a few Durex machines in the restrooms.
There is, actually, one place you can buy condoms at HBS, the Coop. This is fine if you want to have sex between the hours of 8:15am and 5pm (presumably when you get really bored in FIN, or turned on by reading the Balance of Payments) but it’s not much help for the rest of the time. And they only sell medium-size condoms in packs of three. Quite an insult to HBS men, don’t they know that we are all insecure overachievers?