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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA drops in sex awareness

    The UA dropped 14 spots to 31st in this year’s national Trojan Sexual Health Report Card released earlier this month.

    The second-annual poll, conducted by Sperling’s BestPlaces, a Portland-based firm, evaluated and ranked 139 colleges and universities on their sexual awareness, receiving more than 3,300 student responses.

    BestPlaces assigned grade-point averages to schools that are well known within the nation, including Ivy League institutions and schools in recognized athletic conferences, said Bert Sperling, BestPlaces president. Arizona received a 3.18 GPA.

    The availability of HIV testing, sexual assault programs, birth-control products, drop-in services and sexual awareness programs were among the 11 criteria used to evaluate the schools.

    Carly Thomsen, director of the Women’s Resource Center, attributed UA’s slip in the rankings to inadequate funding for sexual awareness programs.

    “”I know the Oasis program is severely underfunded, and the Women’s Resource Center does not have a paid director,”” Thomsen said. “”What does this say about our values?””

    Leeann Hamilton, a educator with Campus Health Service, said the UA may have slipped because it doesn’t have as much money as a private university.

    “”There are a few schools that end up being ranked higher because they have funding to give away free contraception,”” Hamilton said. “”We just don’t have that funding because we’re a public university.””

    Hamilton said she thought the ranking should be higher, given the information on sexual awareness made available on the Campus Health Web site, at orientation and in same-day appointments.

    “”I don’t have students coming in saying, ‘I wish you’d told me more,'”” she said.

    Anonymity is often discourages students from seeking more information about sexual awareness, said Michael Castaneda, case advocate for Cope Behavioral Services, 1101 E. Broadway Blvd., a center that provides free testing for sexually transmitted infections.

    “”The UA provides an anonymous setting, but when people feel there is a stigma, that will discourage (them) from being tested for STIs,”” he said.

    Students said they felt campus programs were visible but still largely ineffective.

    “”Safe-sex posters in the dorms put the information in the back of your mind, but it’s not effective,”” said Andy Musgrove, an undeclared freshman. “”People just throw them away.””

    Evan Behm, a biology freshman, said that he thinks on-campus sexual education is inadequate.

    “”We received a “”Sex Talk”” flyer in our mailbox, but it’s more of a joke,”” he said. “”Knowing the facts and statistics from sex education and parents is more useful.””

    Musgrove said he thinks sex education needs to occur before freshman year.

    “”I don’t think college determines people having safe sex,”” he said. “”People learn more from high school.””

    Jen Whitcomb, a family studies senior, agreed, saying that high school is the best time for students to receive sex ed, as they explore their sexuality.

    “”If it’s ingrained, you’re more likely to practice safe sex,”” she said.

    Sperling echoed the importance of spreading sexual awareness at a relatively early age.

    “”It’s certainly late in the game to update students who aren’t educated by the time they get to college,”” he said.

    Thompson said the challenge of combining funding and promotion of sexual education may always be an uphill battle.

    “”With 30,000 students, more can always be done,”” she said.

    The University of Minnesota took first place with a 3.91 GPA. Arizona State University came in at No. 91 with a 2.55 GPA.

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