U’s sexual health ranks lower than last year

The University of Minnesota isnâÄôt as sex-savvy as it was last year, according to the results of Trojan condoms annual sexual health survey released Monday. Ranked No. 1 last year, the University fell to No. 23 this year out of 139 colleges and universities. This yearâÄôs top school, Stanford University, came in at No. 41 last year. The criteria used to compare schools included the cost of contraceptives, availability of HIV and STI testing and sexual awareness and assault programs. The survey information was gathered by mail and phone interviews with each schoolâÄôs student health center. Two categories new to this yearâÄôs survey were usefulness of sexual health websites hosted by schools and an opinion poll in which 9,000 students graded sexual health at their schools. Jim Daniels, vice president of marketing for Trojan , said the goal of the survey was to create a dialogue about the sexual health services provided to college students. Bert Sperling, president of Sperlings Best Places, the research firm that conducted the survey for Trojan, s aid the University fell behind in the rankings because of the addition of the two categories. Compared with the top schools, the University had slightly lower scores for website usefulness. Still, he said the University still ranks among the most aware campuses in terms of sexual health. âÄúThis isnâÄôt a precipitous drop,âÄù he said. âÄúThe University of Minnesota definitely still ranks in the top tier of schools.âÄù Dave Golden, director of public health and communications for Boynton Health Services , said he suspects the ranking change is due to inconsistencies in survey methodology and criteria. He said Boynton hasnâÄôt drastically changed any of its sexual health programs since last year. âÄúWe didnâÄôt change what we did the year before last, either, when we went from 50-something to 1,âÄù he said. In the report cardâÄôs first year, the University ranked No. 54 out of 100 schools. Golden said BoyntonâÄôs efforts to educate students about sexual health arenâÄôt influenced by the surveyâÄôs results. Regardless of the UniversityâÄôs ranking, he said Boynton utilizes many strategies in educating students about sexual health. Efforts include distributing over 100,000 condoms a year and providing easy access to STI testing clinics. BoyntonâÄôs surveillance program, in which rates of STIs among students are tracked, is also one of the best in the country, he said. Golden said the survey is an effective way for Trojan to promote its condoms and added that the company is also providing a beneficial service by playing into the competitive nature of schools to increase sexual awareness. âÄúItâÄôs kind of fun to have out there,âÄù he said. âÄúI always like it when they bring a little light to what folks are doing.âÄù Other Big Ten universities ranking in the top 25 include the University of Iowa (4), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (13), Pennsylvania State University (14) and Indiana University-Bloomington (22).