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UM ranked 44th most ‘sexually healthy’ college

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BILLY GERDTS // Hurricane Staff

The University of Miami is not one of the nation’s top 50 schools according to the US News college rankings, but it has made the list of the top 50 most sexually healthy colleges.

This ranking was published in the 2008 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card. It scored 139 colleges and universities based on the adequacy of their sexual health resources. The study was conducted by the independent data collection and research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces.

Previously ranked No. 50, Miami has improved to the 44th spot on the report card’s rankings.

However, the improvements are minimal, says Bert Sperling, director of Sperlings BestPlaces.

“That is not a huge amount of improvement. I would not attach any significance to it,” Sperling said. “The notion that the more information students have, the better they can make decisions with regard to health and sexual activity is what we really concentrated on. The easier, cheaper, and more available the information is for students, the better the university’s rankings.”

More than 9,000 student responses were collected from across the country to evaluate opinions on their university’s sexual health programs. Health centers were contacted directly with a survey about the services offered to students.

The amount of hours a college health center operates during a week was taken into consideration for the rankings.

Sperling said that universities with health centers open on the weekend hours will rank better than those without. This semester, the Student Health Center is open Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

“There’s definitely room for improvement,” said Ashley Falcon, assistant director of the Department of Wellness and Recreation and director of the Women’s Commission. “The Health Center doesn’t handle everything. We handle sexual health education on top of fitness and other things, for example.”

She recommends more programming like Sexual Assault Awareness Week and the No Zebras student organization, which handles sexual assault and awareness issues.

Ranking in the top five on the Report Card were Stanford University, Columbia University, Cornell University, the University of Iowa and the University of Denver.

Stanford received a top ranking, according to the Report, because of “expanded methodology and student polling.”

At the bottom of the report card were DePaul University, St. John’s University, Providence College, the University of Notre Dame and Louisana Tech University.

Florida Atlantic University ranked 10th, making it the best college in the state of Florida in terms of sexual health. Also on the Report Card was the University of Florida, at No. 47, Florida International University at No. 75, and Florida State University at No. 88.

Overall, Trojan reports that college students across the country think their health centers have improved. All categories but one improved by an average of three percent. However, one-third of students surveyed stated that they would never contact their health center for sexual health information.

Other categories considered included:

  • The student body’s opinion of the health center
  • Whether walk-ins are allowed
  • If free contraceptives are offered
  • Availability of condoms
  • HIV/AIDS testing availability
  • STD testing costs and availability
  • Anonymous services
  • Student peer groups
  • Sexual assault programs
  • Website usability and functionality
October 5, 2008

Reporters

Ramon Galiana

News Editor


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