Opinions, Editorials

Survey Indicates Need for Sexual Health Referendum

In December, a survey conducted by the Students for Sexual Health (SSH) was available to students in order to retrieve data about Boston College students’ sexual practices. The survey was posted in each of the class Facebook pages so that it could circulate among as many students as possible. It revealed the attitudes, habits, and behaviors regarding the sexual health of nearly 400 Boston College students, approximately 4.2 percent of the undergraduate population.

About one-third of the students that participated in the survey were members of the class of 2018. The gender ratio was even more unequally represented, with about 74 percent of the participants identifying as female. According to the results, 79.9 percent of respondents have been sexually active since arriving at BC, 44.3 percent of participants do not know a place near campus where they can receive resources on sexual health or contraception, and 42.5 percent reported that they do not know where they can be tested for sexually transmitted diseases on campus. The survey reported that only 42.4 percent of students indicated that they always use a condom during genital or anal sex.

These numbers, although not completely representative of the student population, reveal that an alarming number of students do not practice safe sexual activity. Although the sample is not scientific and therefore cannot be called representative of the general student body, the survey should encourage students to be more mindful of their sexual activities.

Of the resources available to students now, SSH periodically distributes contraceptives from their inconvenient location on College Road. University Health Services provides birth control pills only for non-contraceptive purposes, thus restricting students’ options for safe sexual practices due to the University’s strict stance on sexual intercourse. Since the University adheres to Catholic values regarding sexual activity, violations of this policy are subject to punishment via the Student Conduct System.

In an attempt to provide more resources to students, UGBC is holding a referendum asking students their opinion on whether SSH should be able to distribute contraceptives on campus. For the referendum to reach the student body on the UGBC presidential election ballot, the SSH has to collect 1,170 student signatures on a Google Form. Still, if the referendum were to ultimately pass, it does not require the administration to change its policy on the topic. The SSH does not request that BC provide the resources, but merely allow the organization一funded completely externally一to distribute contraceptives to students regularly and conveniently. In light of the alarming rate of their peers who appear to not practice safe sex, students should add their signatures to SSH’s proposed referendum.

Featured Image by Nicole Chan / Heights Editor

February 4, 2018

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