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Chicago State Fails When it Comes to Sexual Health Education, Survey Says

By Andrea V. Watson | January 23, 2015 5:35am | Updated on January 23, 2015 4:03pm
 Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Drive, is the only four-year public university on the South Side.
Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Drive, is the only four-year public university on the South Side.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

ROSELAND — Chicago State University ranks as one of the worst colleges in the nation when it comes to providing students with sexual health resources, a national survey found.

The 2014 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, an annual ranking of sexual health resources at American colleges and universities, said CSU ranked 138 out of the 140 colleges surveyed. Only religious schools Providence College and Brigham Young University ranked lower.

Sperling’s Best Places, an independent research firm, looked at the 140 Division I colleges for the survey released this week. Researchers collected data from student health center representatives and looked closely at the services offered to students.

 Chicago State University offers students free condoms, but many students didn't seem to know that.
Chicago State University offers students free condoms, but many students didn't seem to know that.
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Each campus health center was graded in 11 categories, including condom availability. Whether there was HIV testing onsite and outreach programs or student peer groups for sexual health education was also reviewed.

But CSU officials disputed the results of the survey and said no one at the school spoke with the research firm. 

"CSU engages in frequent sexual health education starting at the beginning of each semester and continuing throughout the year," a university spokesman said. "Some of these activities include: extensive STD/HIV prevention and care education, partnerships with local non-profit health providers, the use of student-peer educators to directly engage students, frequent distribution of educational materials and free condom availability that students take advantage of daily."

The spokesman said he was "unsure if the ranking" resulted from the fact that the school distributed free condoms from a different manufacturer than Trojan, but "their conclusions are inaccurate nonetheless." 

Some students interviewed on campus this week said they were unaware of services the school offered.

Freshman Samantha LaBranche said she didn’t know where students could get information on sexual health resources and didn't recall it being mentioned in student orientation.

Robin Espinosa said she knew about the school's sex health services because she learned about them as a public health sciences graduate student, but she didn't think most students knew about the services.

“There is a lot of information in the health building, but not so much campuswide” she said. 

Other students interviewed guessed when asked where they could get resources on campus or answers about sexual health.

Another category that affected the school's ranking was the overall usability and quality of the health center's website. The website mentions influenza, vaccines and medical forms, but does not reference sexual health education or the fact that free condoms can be obtained at the center, located in the Cook Administration building.

The Trojan Sexual Health Report Card’s purpose is to encourage students to “take their schools’ sexual health into their own hands,” according to the report. "It is designed to spark action."

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