Editorial | Sexual health at MU does not measure up to other schools
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 01:11
As the reigning “hottest” guys and girls, according to College Prowler’s website, it is no secret that Miami University’s students shine in the looks department…that is, compared to other schools on College Prowler’s radar. Though flattering, other recent rankings do not shed the best light on Miami’s student body — literally, our bodies.
Trojan Condom Brand ranked Miami University 64th in the nation on its 2012 Sexual Health Report Card. The 141 schools involved in the study represent all 50 states and were drawn from conferences within the nation’s Bowl Championship Series, according to Trojan. The rankings come from a combined score of “accessibility of sexual health resources and information available to students.” The bottom of the list includes Brigham Young University, U.S. Air Force Academy and Chicago State University. The study ranked University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign first and Brown University second, along with Columbia, Princeton, University of Wisconsin, Yale and Colorado State in the top 10.
We were most interested in how Miami’s health center stacked up.
The Trojan report ranks the schools on a handful of criteria, including hours of operation, drop-in availability, quality of sexual health information on website, HIV testing on-site and usability of the health centers’ website. But there were two criteria that the Editorial Board of the Miami Student saw most vital to student’s health: contraceptive availability and condom availability.
On Oct. 1, Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), went in to full affect.
Obamacare has brought on some major renovations to women and men’s health. Under Obamacare, “women will have access to a large number of preventive services which will be completely covered by the insurance companies.”
As of Oct. 1, 47 million women have access to guaranteed preventive women’s health services under Obamacare. This includes any FDA-approved contraceptive as well as contraceptive education and counseling at no cost to the patient.
We think it’s safe to say the US government would get an A plus on Trojan’s Sexual Health Report Card.
Contraceptives for young women are made accessible through the Women’s Health Services at the Health Center. Though we must argue that the Gynecology department hours are not user-friendly. According to the Student Health Services website, they’re open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; open for four hours on three Saturdays during the fall semester; and closed on Wednesdays. Confused? So are we. It doesn’t exactly make it easy to see one of the doctors. Men’s health issues are dealt with through general medicine and there are no drop-in appointments of any kind at the Student Health Services. Our low ranking is starting to make sense.
Another reason we are in the bottom half of Trojan’s list is condom availability. When it comes to condoms on campus, they just aren’t sold. It’s a long-running joke for the MacCracken Market suggestion chalkboard to read “CONDOMS,” but year after year, campus is left latex-less. That being said, we don’t want to disregard the free condoms at the Student Health Center. In fact, there are probably a lot more sexual health resources on campus than the Average Joe may know.
The Office of Student Wellness offers a “Sex in the Basement” class where you can learn to differentiate between high-risk and low-risk sexual activities, how to put on a condom and the safety of abstinence.
While this all sounds like helpful information, we’re assuming the majority of the students on Miami’s campus would be more than a little embarrassed to show up to one of these classes. Needless to say, a more private alternative would probably work best.
The University of Illinois grabbed the number one spot on Trojan’s list of sexually healthy schools. Its student health services require all women to take a birth control education class before receiving any hormonal contraception (pill/patch/ring). They also offer this education class online, which anyone can take with just a click of a button.
Yale, who made it into the top ten on the Report Card, has a very easy-to-navigate website that actually gives students a ton of information on condoms and safe sex as well as a list of all the places you can find condoms on and off campus.
We realize Miami is set in its traditional, conservative roots, but student’s sexual health and their accessibility to services and products that keep them safe is necessary. We think Miami could benefit from looking at the top ranked schools mentioned at the beginning of the column and make improvements…they could start with the website.