Nation Briefs

New male birth control pill could be the wave of the future

(U-WIRE) AMHERST, Mass. – One day, it might be the man saying, “Don’t worry, I’m on the pill.”

With a new agreement between the Norwegian-based company Spermatech AS, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, that day may come sooner than later.

Spermatech researchers are in the planning stages of creating a drug that could possibly block sperm’s ability to swim as well as its ability to fertilize an egg. This would be the first male birth control pill that avoids tinkering with male hormones.

Previously, researchers have found that it is extremely difficult to suppress sperm production while maintaining normal male hormone levels. This new drug would instead affect a specific protein in the production of sperm that would inhibit their movement.

“I think it’s great that we’ll be given a chance to contribute in the act of birth control,” said Dirk Barron, a junior at UMass. “A birth control pill could act as a back-up to condoms, which might break during sex.”

Arlene Avakian, director of the Women’s Studies program at UMass, is uncertain just how much success a male birth control pill will have in the American public and whether men can be trusted to take the pill habitually.

She said, “I wonder whether women can trust that men will really take the pill. Men aren’t the ones who will become pregnant. They are not the ones, necessarily, who will have to suffer the consequences, or the joys of pregnancy.”

U. Kansas board votes to bring back beer sales

(U-WIRE) LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Memorial Corporation Board unanimously approved a petition last week seeking to bring alcohol sales back to the Kansas student union.

David Mucci, director of the Kansas Union, said if everything were to move forward at a rapid pace, the proposal could be decided on by the end of the spring semester and implemented for the 2005 fall semester.

Beer was last sold at the Kansas Union in 1998 but was stopped after a drunk driver hit a pedestrian on Tennessee Street.

Before suds will be sold, University of Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway and Provost David Shulenburger must approve the plan.

The board will put together a focus group of students, faculty and alumni to make a formal proposal on how alcohol sales would happen at the union.

The proposal will then go to the provost and chancellor for review and an eventual decision.

Before the board meeting, Mucci put together an overview of the proposal to bring malt beverage sales to the union for the members of the Board.

The facility would serve two to three standard brands of alcohol, and beverages would be served only in plain plastic cups.

The proposal provided for wristbands and the prohibition of alcohol advertisements and promotions.

Mucci said that that all staff personnel and security would have to complete a training program before alcohol sales began.

“We need to reinforce the idea that this would be about interaction and exchange, not about beer,” he said.

-compiled by Ryan Holeywell

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