U falls short in sexual health report card

The U ranks 55th in sexual health, according to a Trojan survey.

by Marion Renault


The University of Minnesota is still one of the worst schools in the Big Ten when it comes to sexual health, according to Trojan brand condom’s 2012 Sexual Health Report Card.

Following a major drop last year from 10th place, the University of Minnesota climbed 13 spots to claim the 55th spot. It was once again the second- lowest-ranked Big Ten school behind the University of Nebraska, which ranked 75th.

But sexual health advocates on campus say they remain confident in University efforts.

Sexual Health Awareness and Disease Education, a University sexual health peer education group through Boynton Health Service, is responsible for submitting information for the report. On campus, SHADE offers programs for sex education and distributes free condoms.

SHADE adviser Julie Sanem said she doesn’t put too much stock into Trojan’s report card.

“We think that this report card is a great way to increase awareness about sexual health and bring attention to it,” she said, “but we really don’t see it as a very rigorous evaluation.”

The report ranks 141 American colleges and universities according to the availability of sexual health support with the goal of “celebrating positive sexual health resources and the campuses that support it.”

Schools are graded in 11 categories including quality of sexual health information and resources, availability of condoms, contraceptives and STI testing, and lecture and outreach programs offered.

As a conference, the Big Ten finished second overall in the rankings, with three of its schools claiming top-10 spots, including first-place finisher University of Illinois.

Sanem said the lack of feedback universities receive from Trojan makes it difficult to understand the rating system and what they can improve upon.

Boynton Health Service spokesman Dave Golden said he isn’t sure why the University’s ranking has fluctuated over the past few years.

“We’re doing a lot of the same things we did the year we were ranked No. 1,” he said.

According to a 2010 College Student Health Survey conducted by Boynton Health Service, 73 percent of University students were sexually active in the past year.

Despite the fact that sexually active young adults are at an increased risk for acquiring sexually transmitted infections, Golden says he hasn’t seen a big increase in STIs over the past year.

Both Golden and Sanem support the sexual health services offered at the University, despite the relatively low ranking given by the Trojan report card.

“It’s always good when it comes out, and then people pay attention to sexual health education that’s going on campus,” he said. “We’re pretty proud of what our folks do here.”