DePaul ranked in lower-tier of schools in sexual health resources

Trojan, known for their many brands of condoms, found in their yearly report card that DePaul is ranked 113 out of 140 in providing sexual health resources. (Photo courtesy of Egan Snow | Flickr)
Trojan, known for their many brands of condoms, found in their yearly report card that DePaul is ranked 113 out of 140 in providing sexual health resources. (Photo courtesy of Egan Snow | Flickr)

The grades are in and DePaul has flunked yet another exam. A Trojan Sexual Health Report Card exam, that is.

The Report Card is a yearly ranking of campus sexual health resources in universities nationwide. The categories that were studied include, but are not limited to: contraception availability, sexual assault resources, educative outreach and STD/STI testing. Although DePaul’s Sexual Health and Violence Prevention Specialist Rima Shah was skeptical of the means used to gather these rankings, it is notable that out of the 140 universities that Trojan investigated in all 50 states, DePaul was ranked 113. Shah said that in order to comprehend the reliability of Trojan’s research, one needs “a far more in-depth understanding of what methods were used to compile their lists.”

Nonetheless, sexual health and education are significant issues for young people in America, and not just on college campuses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed every year occur in people between ages 15 and 24. Needless to say, most college students fall into that demographic, and DePaul appears to be particularly lacking in sexual wellness.

Students were opinionated on the matter, particularly in regard to what DePaul should do about it.

“DePaul should raise more awareness about sexual health,” DePaul freshman Raquel Medina said. “(T)here should be free clinics … and maybe a class that teaches things about (sexual health).”

She went on to surmise that perhaps it is DePaul’s religious background that is hindering the spread of sexual education on campus, leading to a greater risk of pregnancy, sexual diseases and infections.

DePaul junior Sarah Gonsalves also thought that DePaul’s religious foundation had something to with its low sexual health grade. However, she believes more responsibility should be assigned to the students themselves.

“(T)here’s just a lot of young people doing stupid things,” Gonsalves said. “But it’s a Catholic university, so I think a lot of students assume they can’t turn to school resources for help.”

However, Gonsalves said that if contraceptives, such as condoms, were more readily available on campus, students might take more initiative to protect their own sexual health.

When asked, Shah denied that DePaul is sexually unhealthy overall, but she did offer some proposals for how DePaul can improve its sexual wellness that coincided with what Medina had suggested.

“Expanding educational programs around sexual health and healthy relationships can go a long way,” Shah said, “I feel such programs are most effective when they are student-driven and collaborative in nature.”

She went on to suggest that anyone with ideas for improving sexual health and education at DePaul, particularly in regardsto sexual health programming initiatives and collaborations, should contact her at rshah46@depaul.edu.