Freshmen looking to get intimately acquainted with their screw dates Saturday night may have been more cautious than otherwise, as a result of an e-mail sent Saturday afternoon.
At 2:55 p.m. Saturday, an e-mail addressed to “the entire freshman class” claimed that the Pundits, Yale’s senior prank society, had replaced some of the free condoms in freshman entryways with “faulty” ones. The general consensus among students interviewed was that the e-mail itself was a joke and that the Pundits had not been involved in any such prank. Still, many students said it crossed the line of acceptable humor. Members of Yale’s health community said the e-mail scare is a learning experience, stressing that students should check condoms before using them.
The e-mail, sent from the address email@example.com and by a person who identified himself as “James Johnson,” appears similar in style to previous e-mails sent to the freshman class by an anonymous person using the same name in September. Earlier e-mails warned students about traditional Pundit pranks, such as invitations to surprise naked parties and kidnappings of freshmen on Tap Night. The e-mails had been sent from the addresses firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
The e-mail urged freshmen to be cautious with condoms, saying that some “free condoms on campus have holes in the tips.” “Johnson” advised students to purchase condoms at a pharmacy, rather than use the free condoms provided in freshman entryways by Yale University Health Services.
Ten members of the Pundits did not respond to e-mail and phone requests for comment Sunday.
Many freshmen said while they were confident that the message was untrue, the e-mail alone was not funny.
“I think there is an acceptable range of what is humorous, and I don’t think it’s an issue that you should make light of,” Marysa Leya ’11 said.
Members of Yale’s health community said the entire episode should not undermine students’ faith in condoms provided by the school.
University Health Services Director Paul Genecin said as long as the e-mail itself was the joke and the condoms were not tampered with, “a prank is a prank.” He declined to comment further on the situation.
But students should remember to check the integrity of condoms, he said.
All freshmen are taught about safe sex practices through the “Connections Workshop,” given by members of Yale’s Peer Health Educator Program at the beginning of each academic year.
Student Health Educator Rebecca Schrier, adviser of the Peer Health Educator Program, said that the joke does a poor service to students. Still, she said she does not expect that it will undermine the efforts of Peer Health Educators.
Even if students do not suspect that a condom has been tampered with, they should always check the integrity of a condom, she said.
“Anything like this can be turned into a learning opportunity,” Schrier said.
Students should check the expiration date of a condom and hold it up to the light to see if there are any punctures or holes, she said. Also, students should check the condom package to make sure that there is an air bubble in it, Schrier said.
Peer Health Educator Axel Schmidt ’09 said students should also be aware that free condoms are not just available in their entryways. They are also provided at UHS offices.