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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MU falls 20 spots on Sexual Health Report Card

The rankings, compiled by Trojan Condoms, were based on programs and resources available on campus.

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Laura Davis/Graphic Designer

MU came out 46th of 141 universities across the nation on the Trojan 2012 Sexual Health Report Card, dropping from its rank of 26th in 2011.

Released Oct. 23, the sexual health report card gauges the awareness and improvements schools take in improving sexual health among its students.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign overthrew Columbia University, the reigning champion, to take the top spot. Among the top 10 schools were four Ivy League Schools: Brown, Columbia, Princeton and Yale; and three Big Ten schools: University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Iowa.

Sperling’s BestPlaces, an independent research firm, conducted the survey based on data from student health care representatives. Student health care centers were judged by 11 different criteria, including hours of operation, condom availability, quality of sexual health information and lecture/outreach programs.

“I disagree with the results as nothing much has changed from last year to this year,” SHAPE curriculum coordinator Heather Eastman-Mueller said in an email, regarding the 20-spot drop. “I think this is always open to interpretation, and the rankings can vary considerably based on who actually completes the survey."

Freshman Shelby Baseler expressed skepticism about the drop in ranking.

“I can’t even begin to figure out how it dropped," she said. "I came here kind of impressed for the amount of resources like that. I went to the Love Your Body event. They make you aware you can take advantage of these things."

Eastman-Muller said MU is strong in the following categories: quality of sexual health information on website, free condoms, free HIV testing on campus, lecture and outreach programs for sexual health education and a website that allows anonymous questions. However, she also said MU is still attempting to create a climate on campus more open to sexual health.

The Student Health Center provides many resources, including sexual health screenings and testing and its “SHealth” app that displays testing locations and educational videos. Sexual Health Advocate Peer Education is a peer-education program on campus for sexual health information and resources.

According to Eastman-Mueller, the report card can be further used as a way to promote sexual health.

“Any time we can highlight or have the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about sexual health on college campuses, it contributes to a healthier environment, one that encourages safety and health,” she said.

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