For the past eight years, the Trojan Condoms brand has released an annual report entitled the “Trojan Sexual Health Report Card.” The report, conducted in conjunction with a research group, Sperling’s BestPlaces, measures the sexual health of 140 colleges and universities nationwide. According to the Trojan Condoms website, the Sexual Health Report Card ranks schools based on “accessibility of sexual health resources and information available to students on campus.” The rankings show which school administrations are most proactive in protecting students' sexual health and sexual health awareness. So, before dissenters dismiss the report as Trojan propaganda that serves only to get lower ranking schools to buy condoms, realize that, at its core, the report is simply a test of the preparedness of a school to deal with the reality that college students are having sex.
If one peruses the Top 10 and Bottom 10 of the list, there is a not-so-striking realization to be made. Four out of the bottom ten schools are religiously affiliated. These schools (St. John’s University in New York, Seton Hall University, Providence College and Brigham Young University) are not bad schools by any stretch of the imagination. Based on the rankings, they are just the worst when it comes to sexual health resources provided by the administration, including condom distribution and STI/STD testing. Now, save for BYU (which has its students sign a pledge to abstain from all premarital sexual contact), I find this off-putting considering that college-aged human beings are generally recognized as sexually active.
Having attended religiously affiliated schools since high school, I am not one to commonly bash practices of the church. I find, both here and at the Episcopalian high school I attended, many religious practices to be enlightening. There are many values and teachings of the various Christian doctrines that still ring true in 21st century America.
Refusing to distribute condoms is not one of them.
I find it mind-boggling how the sexual health of current students is lower on religiously affiliated schools’ priority list than centuries-old doctrine. Why, I emphatically and forcefully inquire, is this? The teachings of the Holy Bible seem, to me, more malleable than ever in our ever-evolving society. I have never once met a Christian so devout that they adhere, word-for-word, to every single lesson of every single chapter of the Bible. Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing those who do. However, I do have a problem with the idea that the simplest, most basic form of contraception that exists, should not be distributed among the student bodies at an institutions of higher learning.
College kids are going to have sex.
It’s an agonizingly simple fact. The very idea that someone could be opposed to a reality like this makes no sense to me. It takes a very ardently stubborn person to deny this.
Getting back to the report, another interesting fact is that the highest-ranking religiously affiliated school is none other than, oh would you look at that: Georgetown. The Jesuit institution recently took steps towards accepting the sexual nature of their students and is now allowing condom distribution on campus. Despite this ranking, they still have a ways to go. Even though they were the highest-ranking religiously affiliated school, they barely scraped into the Top 100 at #96.
When all is said and done, the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card may not be the most reliable source from which to draw conclusions about overall sexual health of certain institutions’ student bodies. However, I think the basic issue that the report unintentionally brings up is key. The fact of the matter is that none of the top ninety-five schools in the country, when it comes to sexual health education, are religiously affiliated. It’s hard to face that fact and not wonder if there is some sort of negative effect there.
Boston College, which was ranked #114 this year (#116 in 2012, #122 in 2011), is one of those prominent religious schools that falls pretty low on the report's list. I’m not sure what that has to say about our school’s preparedness, other than that the administration seems fixated on their institutionalized values; and we’ve seen those come into play before. Honestly, I see no problem with that, except for the one tiny fact that we are not being offered access to important educational information about safe sexual practices.
We are not forced to abstain like BYU. We are going to have sex. Why not help us be safe?