After a few months of negotiation, it looks as if the details of Student Senate’s Sexual Health Resolution have finally been nailed down.
Administrators seem to be OK with the plan, and the Wellness Program has put together what we see as a fair condom distribution policy.
Originally, students were going to have to present their university ID card to receive their allotment of condoms for a month. But after privacy concerns were raised, that section of the distribution plan was amended.
Now students will receive a card verifying their attendance at a Help, Empower and Teach sexual health presentation.
At the very least, this policy is a step in the right direction.
The facts and figures about students’ sexual habits are a bit frustrating, as less than 50 percent are using condoms regularly.
And while it’s not exactly the university’s job to interfere in that part of students’ lives, a condom distribution plan is appropriate – and needed.
It’s no different than purchasing hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of the flu, and we commend the university for taking this large step forward, even if it is frustrating that it didn’t happen years ago.
The plan isn’t perfect, however.
We recognize why the Wellness Program staff wanted to include an education component in the policy, but we’re not so sure about how to go about in educating the students.
The HEAT sexual health presentations are given in EHS 120 classes each fall, meaning nearly all the freshmen will be eligible to have condoms distributed to them.
But figuring out how to get upperclassmen to see that presentation is a bit of a grey area.
It’s a bit naive to expect students to go to the Wellness Program office to have the presentation given individually, especially since most think, correctly or not, that they know how to use a condom
There are other ways of getting the presentation to students, though.
We recommend videotaping HEAT members giving the presentation and then posting it to its Web site.
Then students could be given an online quiz about what was talked about in the presentation. After the quiz students could print out a certificate and bring it in to swap for the card verifying they’ve seen a HEAT presentation.
There are steps that would need to be taken, but the university has similar processes for other issues, such as moving off campus.
This would take the embarrassment factor out of having to sit through an individual presentation, and would quite possibly lead to more students utilizing the service, which is the goal.