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State Law Bars Yale's Plan B Vending Machines

FILE - Condoms are seen above chewing gum and food snacks in a vending machine in China, Sept. 23, 2007. State law limits what Yale University in Connecticut can dispense in its campus vending machines.
FILE - Condoms are seen above chewing gum and food snacks in a vending machine in China, Sept. 23, 2007. State law limits what Yale University in Connecticut can dispense in its campus vending machines.

Yale University will not follow dozens of other schools nationwide and dispense contraception pills through campus vending machines, because it is barred by state law.

"The wellness machines will not be available on campus," wrote Karen N. Peart, director of external communications at the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications, to VOA via email. Connecticut "state laws currently do not permit over-the-counter medications to be sold through these machines."

But Peart asserted that Yale would continue to provide Plan B, often referred to as the "morning-after pill," free to students through the campus health center, along with the Paragard IUD, another emergency contraceptive option, and comprehensive counseling regarding contraception and reproductive health.

"These products have been available at the Yale Health Pharmacy for many years before a group of students originated the idea of piloting a wellness machine," Peart wrote.

Access growing nationwide

Yale would have joined a growing list of universities in the United States to install machines that offer condoms, emergency contraception and lubricant last month. Contraception pills under the commercial name Plan B can be taken up to five days after intercourse to thwart conception.

"The point of this is to make Plan B more accessible and to make medications, in general, more accessible," said Ileana Valdez, a Yale sophomore who spearheaded the effort, according to Yale Daily News. "Hopefully this will set a precedent for more machines to show up around campus that contain other things so Yale students don't have to go out of their way to go to [convenience stores], especially students from the new colleges."

Plan B, or levonorgestrel, can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent, according to the Plan B One-Step website. "The sooner it's taken, the better it works," says the website.

According to the website of the Mayo Clinic, one of the largest not-for-profit academic health systems in the United States, levonorgestrel is an option when intercourse did not include physical, hormonal or device protection such as condoms, birth-control pills taken daily and over time, or intrauterine devices.

"Morning-after pills can help prevent pregnancy if you've had unprotected sex," the website explains. "Morning-after pills do not end a pregnancy that has implanted. They work primarily by delaying or preventing ovulation. ... [this] isn't the same as mifepristone (Mifeprex), also known as RU-486 or the abortion pill [which] terminates an established pregnancy — one in which the fertilized egg has attached to the uterine wall and has begun to develop."

Student health services

A survey by the American College Health Association conducted throughout 2015 showed 79 percent of surveyed colleges and universities offered Plan B or over-the-counter emergency contraceptives to students through their student health services.

The list of schools that offer levonorgestrel in vending machines is growing, including colleges and universities from large to small, and driven by student demand. A number of University of California campuses, Dartmouth College, and Stanford University were among some of the first.

A fall survey showed more than 75 percent of students questioned said they were unaware that Yale Health offers emergency contraception around the clock and for free, the Yale Daily News reported.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. sold Plan B One-Step and other emergency contraception products to Foundation Consumer Healthcare in a $675 million sale in November 2017. The contraception, which previously required a doctor's prescription, became available without a prescription to women 17 and older, although some schools will dispense the drug to males.

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Xi wants more exchanges between US, Chinese universities

FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.
FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.

Mutual understanding between China and the United States can be improved by having more university exchanges between the two countries.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese President Xi Jinpin told Xinhua News Agency that exchanges could develop young ambassadors who understand both countries. (June 2024)

Students learn protests can affect job prospects

FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.
FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.

Some students in the U.S. are learning their public stances on the Israel-Hamas war are having an impact on job prospects.

Financial Times reports that protest activities are turning up in background checks, and employers have revoked employment offers to students as a result. (June 2024)

UCLA names new chancellor as campus is still reeling from protests over Israel-Hamas war

Dr. Julio Frenk, the next chancellor of UCLA, listens to questions at a news conference, June 12, 2024, in Los Angeles.
Dr. Julio Frenk, the next chancellor of UCLA, listens to questions at a news conference, June 12, 2024, in Los Angeles.

The president of the University of Miami was chosen Wednesday to become the next chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, where the retiring incumbent leaves a campus roiled by protests over Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

Dr. Julio Frenk, a Mexico City-born global public health researcher, was selected by regents of the University of California system at a meeting on the UCLA campus, where there were a swarm of security officers.

Frenk will succeed Gene Block, who has been chancellor for 17 years and announced his planned retirement long before UCLA became a national flashpoint for U.S. campus protests. This spring, pro-Palestinian encampments were built and cleared by police with many arrests, and again this week, there were more arrests.

Frenk has led the 17,000-student University of Miami since 2015 and previously served as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Mexico's national health secretary, among other positions.

In a brief press conference, Frenk said he was approaching the appointment with excitement and humility.

"The first thing I plan to do is listen very carefully," Frenk said. "This is a complex organization. It is, as I mentioned, a really consequential moment in the history of higher education."

Frenk did not comment on specific protests at UCLA this spring or the current administration's response, which initially tolerated an encampment but ultimately used police to clear it and keep new camps from forming.

During public comment in the regents meeting, speakers criticized UC administrators, alleged police brutality, complained of a lack of transparency in UC endowments and called for divestment from companies with ties to Israel or in weapons manufacturing.

Speakers also talked about experiencing antisemitism on campus and called for an increased law enforcement response to protesters.

Later, about 200 people rallied, including members of an academic student workers union and the Faculty for Justice for Palestine group as well as students from other UC campuses. Participants held signs calling for charges to be dropped against protesters who have been arrested.

Block departs UCLA on July 31. Darnell Hunt, executive vice president and provost, will serve as interim chancellor until Frenk becomes UCLA's seventh chancellor on January 1, 2025.

In previous roles, Frenk was founding director of Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, held positions at the World Health Organization and the nonprofit Mexican Health Foundation, and was a senior fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's global health program.

Frenk received his medical degree from the National University of Mexico in 1979. He then attended the University of Michigan, where he earned master's degrees in public health and sociology, and a joint doctorate in medical care organization and sociology.

Experts: US will have nearly 2 million international students by 2034

FILE - People line up outside McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus, Jan. 12, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz.
FILE - People line up outside McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus, Jan. 12, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz.

Experts predict the U.S. will enroll nearly 1.8 million international students by 2034, ICEF Monitor reports.

Most of the students will hail from India, along with China, Vietnam, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Nepal, Brazil and Mexico, the analysis says.

Read the story here. (May 2024)

UCLA gets its first international student undergraduate council president

FILE - The UCLA campus on April 25, 2019.
FILE - The UCLA campus on April 25, 2019.

An international student will lead the Undergraduate Students Association Council at UCLA for the first time.

Adam Tfayli, who is from Lebanon, won the presidential race, beating out five other candidates.

Student newspaper the Daily Bruin has the story here. (May 2024)

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