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UM gets an ‘F’ on sex ed report card for sexual awareness program

Umbrellas aren’t the only form of protection necessary for students during the rainy season at the University of Miami.
On this hot and sweaty college campus, the common attitude of working hard and partying harder may entail activity of the sexual sort.

So, when the going gets rough, Miami students may not have the resources needed to learn about safe and responsible sex. According to a recent report, the university does not provide students with a certain type of program that deals with sexual health and safety.

The 2007 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, a study conducted by Trojan Brand Condoms in collaboration with the data analysis organization Sperling’s BestPlaces, was released in mid-September. The report ranked 139 colleges and universities based on the adequacy of their sexual health resources.

UM scored high in most categories. However, when researchers pursued a deeper investigation, the university’s overall “G.P.A.” plunged to a 3.05 (out of 4.0) due to flaws found in the Separate Sexual Awareness Program.

According to Sperling’s BestPlaces, a Separate Sexual Awareness Program is not required of colleges, but should exist because it has been proven to encourage sexual safety and health. The program is expected to attain this goal by raising awareness of sexual health issues and concerns by including outreach programs, lectures or events promoting sexual health to students. It also should be independently operated from the college’s health clinic.

UM failed this category entirely, placing UM at number 50 out of the 139 colleges and universities ranked.

Bert Sperling, president of Sperling’s BestPlaces, said that schools with the highest rankings on the list had the strongest Separate Sexual Awareness Programs. When experts from his team attempted to review UM’s program, it was nowhere to be found.

“UM failed this category because absolutely no evidence of a Separate Sexual Health Awareness Program was detected, which is just as bad as not having a program at all,” Sperling said. “If this information could not be found by researchers, it’s definitely not accessible enough to students.”

Sperling added that sexual health resources should be well-displayed on the university’s website because that’s where he believes students usually go to get their sexual health information.

When asked about the disappointing grade in this category, Howard Anapol, director of the Health Center, said that similar programs are offered on campus by Ashley Falcon, assistant director of the Wellness Center. Falcon speaks about sexual health at orientation and throughout the academic year at sessions for student organizations or by private appointment.

Still, Anapol admits UM’s Separate Sexual Health Awareness Program has room for improvement but assures that action will be taken. The results of the Report Card have initiated a revamping process for the university’s sexual health facilities.

“This external research provides opportunity for change,” Anapol said. “We will begin right away to re-brand our sexual health programs and improve the website to make it more convenient and beneficial for students.”

Chelsea Kate Isaacs may be contacted at c.isaacs1@umiami.edu.

Condoms, Diseases and Sex Facts Oh my!

 Between 20 to 25 percent of college students either have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or have had one in the past. (Columbia University statistics)

 Chlamydia, HPV (Human Papillomavirus, aka genital warts) and genital herpes are the most common STIs on college campuses. (Columbia University statistics)

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 35 percent of 13 to 19 year olds and 29 percent of 20 to 29 year olds are infected with HPV.

 42 percent of college males reported instances when they wanted to use a condom but did not have any available. (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation statistic)

 Out of 139 universities, the University of Miami came in at 50 on the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card list. The University of Florida was ranked 43, Florida State University was 71 and FIU ranked 88.

Information compiled by Chelsea Isaacs.

October 4, 2007

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.