In anticipation of spring break in 1990, a holiday during which college students headed to the coastal resort cities for a week of revelry and debauchery, The Traveler staff produced a package of stories dedicated to education about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and the related human immunodeficiency virus, a sexually transmitted disease that had no known cure at the time. The paper included a condom inserted in papers distributed on campus, a promotional gimmick that quickly got nationwide attention.
Anticipating attention, the paper's editorial in the same issue gave its rationale:
The first thing you were likely to notice about this edition of The Traveler was the condom that we inserted. You were likely to be surprised, amused or infuriated when you discovered it. ... In this Bible-belt state, many will be convinced that The Traveler staff is going in the wrong direction for its part in the distribution of sexually-oriented materials to the campus. But after researching this issue, we discovered that other campuses distributed condoms. Campuses such as the University of Alabama and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga have caught little flack about distributing condoms. We only wonder if this state will be as mature as its sister states.
In the first issue after spring break, most of two pages were given over to letters about the condom issue, both pro and con. An editorial reported that most of the letters came from non-students. The editorial also stated that absolutely no state money was used to purchase, ship or deliver the condoms to students, a fact the paper said was overlooked by most state reporters who followed up on the controversy.
The Arkansas Traveler. March 14, 1990
Ibid. March 28, 1990