SHU ranks among worst in sexual health study

137 out of 141 in the 2011 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, 13 places lower than last year’s ranking of No. 124.

According to Trojan, the study, conducted by Sperling’s BestPlaces, “provides a much needed gauge on how students, administrators and educators are performing” with promoting positive sexual knowledge and safety.

Trojan states that each school is given an overall grade based on availability of sexual health resources and information.

Some criteria for the rankings and methodology of the study include student opinions of the health center, website usability, HIV/STI testing, male and female contraceptive availability, outreach programs for sexual health issues and presence of separate sexual health awareness programs on campus.

Other guidelines include hours of operation, walk-in appointments, student peer groups and anonymous sexual health advice from campus health centers.

In order to sustain the Catholic mission of Seton Hall, Health Services can in no way distribute forms of birth control.

“We are not able to prescribe contraception devices at all,” said Teresa Conklin, assistant director of Health Services.

According to Conklin, when students bring up sexual health concerns to Health Services, the practitioners discuss “reduction” and “general healthy practices” with them in order to stay within Catholic guidelines.

“We can guide them,” Conklin said. “[The advice] has to adhere to the Catholic mission,” she added.

“I think [this study] is not a benchmark we aspire to,” Conklin said.

Conklin said that Health Services does offer some resources for sexual health, such as routine screenings.

According to Conklin, Health Services offers pamphlets with material pertaining to sexual health courtesy of the CDC.

Also according to Conklin, Health Services can give referrals to other doctors, such as gynecologists, if students require specified care.

“If we can’t manage their needs, we refer out,” Conklin said.

In terms of sexual assault support, Seton Hall has the Sexual Assault Response Team, which is a team of nine members who “serve as a resource to community members who may have been the victims of a sexual assault or other forms of dating violence,” according to the University website.

Columbia University of N.Y. was recognized last year and this year as the top college with the most advanced and readily available on-campus sexual health resources.

According to the study, Columbia has 18 student health groups in addition to support from students, faculty and its health services staff.

Rutgers University New Brunswick was ranked in the top ten last year, specifically the 9th most advanced in sexual resources. This year Rutgers is ranked as No. 13.

Besides Seton Hall, three Big East conference schools ranked bottom ten in terms of sexual health: St. John’s University, Providence College and DePaul University.

Charlotte Lewis can be reached at charlotte.lewis@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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