Tag Archives: sexuality

USF’s Condom Policy Is Hypocritical

At the health clinic at USF, students can attend programs on herpes, HIV and oral sex, and prenatal care. The school will help to educate you on the effects of gonorrhea, the different stages of syphilis. They will even provide you with counseling if you become pregnant. But if you simply go looking for a condom, well, you are not going to find one.

The unfortunate part of this situation is that merely providing students with access to protection could drastically lessen the need for all the counseling and information on campus about how to tell if you have contracted an STD.

As a Jesuit university, USF follows the Catholic views on sexual activity. As such, while the school offers many educational programs on topics to encourage sexual health, it is not surprising that the school itself does not provide students with easy access to contraceptives. Its programs are meant “not to promote the use of contraception, but rather to help those who choose to be sexually active” according to the USF Health Clinic webiste. And yet, I don’t believe that if the school chose to offer students protection they would appear to be promoting sexual activity or would cause an increase in sexual activity.

Believing that making access to condoms easier for students would somehow magically cause a rise in sexual activity on campus is like believing that if you put on a sun dress and flip flops, it will magically stop raining outside. Sexual activities go on without the school giving out condoms, and they would still go on if the school decided to help keep its students safe by providing condoms. USF would not be promoting pre-marital sex; it would merely be promoting the priority that it has for the health and welfare of its students.

Now, I am in no way suggesting that the school should put up candy dispensers filled with colorful condoms in the lobbies of all the buildings. I’m not trying to paint a picture of a campus strewn about with contraceptives or a Health Promotions Services office dropping them in the backpacks of every person walking by. What I am suggesting is a discreet program that will be made known to students so that they are aware that they have an option. This can be done in a tasteful manner, emphasizing that the school is merely promoting health and safe sex for those students who choose to be sexually active.

While the Catholic tradition and all of its views should be respected, USF still has a responsibility to the health of its students. It is not enough for the school to provide programs that exist simply to inform, or programs that deal with sexual consequences after they happen.

USF offers preventative programs for many other aspects of students’ lives like eating disorders, binge drinking, and drug use. Sexual activity on campus should be treated with the same attitude and goal – to prevent dangerous situations before they happen by preparing students to the best of the university’s ability – even if that includes handing out condoms.

Gender Center Provides Safe Space for Sex Discussion

Foghorn Archives  The GSWRC was opened after several incidents of sexual violence were reported on USF campus last spring, launching a student movement against sexual violence, including this Take Back the Night march, lead by Jenna Recupero, Jenny Reed, and Erika Carlsen.

Foghorn Archives The GSWRC was opened after several incidents of sexual violence were reported on USF campus last spring, launching a student movement against sexual violence, including this Take Back the Night march, lead by Jenna Recupero, Jenny Reed, and Erika Carlsen.

In one of the most heavily-trafficked parts of USF campus, next to the Market Cafe in the University Center, the new Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Resource Center (GSWRC) has opened its doors. The resource center is the brainchild of a group of students and administrators in response to several incidents of sexual violence reported last semester (for more information see “Caskey” on page 3).

Senior Samantha Sheppard-Gonzales saw the center take shape from the beginning as the co-director of the club Students Taking Action Against Sexual Violence (STAASV)

When these concerned students started meeting to address the issue of sexual violence on campus, they broke into specific action-oriented committees. Sheppard-Gonzales’ committee was focused on the need for a resource center on campus, a safe and inclusive space.

“The hardest part was convincing the administration that it was really necessary,” Sheppard-Gonzales said. With the support of Dean of Students Mary Wardell, the center was approved and open by summer. “It was nice to see student action lead to such tangible results so quickly,” Sheppard-Gonzales said.

The GSWRC is a multipurpose facility according to Megan Gallagher, assistant director of Health Promotion Services, who helps oversee the center. “We want to bring together the themes of gender and sexuality issues, working on prevention [of sexual violence] and guidance and referrals [for victims].”

To reach these goals, the center provides a library of thought-provoking literature and DVDs, fiction and non-fiction, about gender and sexuality issues, all of which can be checked out at no charge. There is also a wealth of information compiled by graduate students in the School of Nursing advising young people what to do if they are in an abusive relationship or have been sexually assaulted.

Graduate nursing students are the staff that keeps the GSWRC going. Joellyn Morris, one such staff member who has been working in the center since June, said the center can help people establish healthy relationships, can educate people how to prevent sexual assault, and can provide support for survivors of sexual assault.

Most importantly, she said, “It is nice to see a safe space on campus for women, and for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community.”

The center is not limited to just those groups though. “It’s for everyone, men and women,” Morris said. After all, “Issues having to do with women have to do with men too.”

In the upcoming semester the GSWRC plans to host events such as film screenings, guest lecturers and self-defense classes. The center will also be the meeting space of the STAASV club, and Sheppard-Gonzales hopes it can be a place for everyone to gather information and even just hang out.

Freshman Stephanie Bruguera had already visited the center by the first week of classes. Relaxing on a comfortable couch, a rainbow-colored mural brightening the wall behind her, she perused the library of reading material and movies.

Not necessarily expecting to see a gender resource center on campus when she chose to attend this University, she said, “I was really happy to see this.” Gender issues interest Bruguera; she is considering adding a minor in gender and sexuality studies to her biology major. Of the center, she said, “I will for sure be coming back.”

The GSWRC in UC 200 is open from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Friday with evening hours from 5 – 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.