Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Lack of Sex Education Endangers GU Students

As mentioned in a recent edition of THE HOYA, Georgetown’s Law Center has recently changed its policy on giving funding to students for summer internships (“GU Law Loosens Internship Policy,” THE HOYA, Sept. 25, 2007, A1). Students can now obtain funding even if they plan to work for a place that promotes abortion rights. I commend Law Center Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff for taking such a measure and reversing an out-of-date policy.

However, in light of the recent grades Georgetown received in Trojan’s Sexual Health Survey (“Georgetown Falls in Sexual Health Survey,” THE HOYA, Sept. 18, 2007, A1), it is particularly clear that the undergraduate campus is still in dire need of improvement. If the Law Center is capable of making changes and moving forward, why is the rest of the university not?

In fact, in recent weeks, the one policy that was changed – the alcohol policy – has been criticized far more than I’m willing to bet Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson was prepared for. The question is now commonplace – did changes in the alcohol policy address such a pressing health concern? The answer is unequivocally “no.” Rather, where we were failing was sexual health, as reported by the similarly atrocious grades Georgetown received in last year’s survey.

Instead of trying to improve what was and continues to be a significant health issue, however, Georgetown changed its stance on something that has not yet proven to be one. Let’s give Olson the benefit of the doubt, and say that he really was concerned for our safety when he chose to enact these new policies. If this is the case, if he really is concerned for the students’ safety, why not also provide help where safety is clearly lacking? The pieces simply do not add up.

More specifically, just as funding is now given to the law students who need it, funding must also be allocated to sexual health on campus. In order to improve student safety on Georgetown’s campus, one cannot get around this issue. The university needs to either sell condoms on campus or distribute them freely at the Student Health Center, as is common practice at other college campuses. The truth is that it is absolutely embarrassing that such an esteemed university is still so backward when it comes to this issue.

I also agree with Stephen Picciano’s column (“Sexual Health Needs More Dialogue,” THE HOYA, Sept. 25, 2007, A3) in that in our quest for sexual health, more than simply condom and birth-control distribution is required. There should indeed be more – or, for that matter, some – dialogue about sexual safety on campus. I can’t help but feel apprehensive about the kind of dialogue that the university administrators would provide. A one-sided discussion of how abstinence is the only answer, as many received in high school, would be no better than the lack of education we have now.

Just last week, H*yas for Choice sponsored an event with a speaker discussing the details of birth control. While this may seem useless or even childish in a college setting, I found that many of the attendees, even upperclassmen, were unsure about the intricacies of sexual health.

In addition, Picciano is right in that one-on-one dialogue with trained university employees would be extraordinarily helpful. Countless times I have talked to peers in a bind, and they do not know tho whom or where to turn next. Friends will always be the best resource for advice, but what is most needed is a group of objective professionals who can offer information on all of the available options.

All in all, there needs to be better sexual education on campus, as well as better access to birth control and condoms. It is not even an issue anymore of whether or not to uphold the university’s Catholic values. It is simply a matter of student health. The naïve among us can keep debating all they wish, but the fact remains that not everyone is practicing abstinence. And the lack of sexual education is a very real problem on campus. I commend the Law Center for getting with the program; I can tell they care about their students’ well-being. It is about time that the Main Campus did the same.

Brittany Schulman is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service.

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