Trojan Brand Condoms released its fifth annual sexual Health Report Card earlier this month, placing Cornell 12th. Trojan Brand Condoms wrapped up its fifth annual Sexual Health Report Card early this month, placing Cornell twelfth amongst 141 schools. The Sexual Health Report Card is an annual ranking of the sexual health resources and information services available to students at American universities.
Nina Cummings, a health educator in the health promotion department at Gannett Health, says that the University’s high ranking is a reflection of Gannet’s commitment to sexual health education and services, and is not so much a measure of how sexually healthy students actually are on campus. The report makes no mention of the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, for example.
Though Cornell dropped from its eighth place ranking last year, the University still offers the same services, Cummings said.
“I think we have a solid program and that we are in a really good place around sexual health resources and services for a college health center,” Cummings said. The services include free condoms in the waiting room, free lubricant, a pharmacy with sexual health supplies, and a staff that is trained to assist students with sexual health.
One of the services that she said might be unique to Cornell is a health counselor who is a certified sex therapist. Students and couples regardless of orientation can come in for a free visit to discuss any problems they may be having, she said.
Students might also be surprised to see vibrators for sale at the pharmacy. These vibrators were brought to Gannett after a women’s group on campus “several years back” showed staff members at Gannett that students were going online and buying them without knowing how to use them and clean them, Cummings said.
“They made a pretty strong argument for making it an educational moment,” Cummings said. She said that though she doesn’t keep track of how many are sold, “they move.”
Also staying atop the rankings this year were Columbia (1), Brown (5), Princeton (8) and Yale (13). Cummings says that so many Ivy League institutions are at the top of the list due to their large endowments, which allow them to provide more wide-ranging services to college students. “A state school may not have resources to have condoms available in the waiting room,” she said. “Sexual decision making is not necessarily tied to intellect. People make these decisions based on the values they have. It’s not just because you are smart and have high SAT scores.”
Cummings said that students typically check Google first for information on sexual services, but added that Gannett maintains a comprehensive website geared toward Cornell students. She emphasized that the website offers reassurances about confidentiality and recognizing the context of sexual decision making, acknowledging that students may not be monogamous and may have differing sexual orientations.
Karisa Serraneau ’14 said that she looked at a number of academic rankings before she applied to Cornell, but this is one of the more interesting ones she has seen. She added that she is not surprised about the ranking, however, and that Gannett has done a good job of advertising its sexual health services. She said that because of this advertising and because of Ithaca’s size and relative remoteness, students would look to Gannett first for resources.
“Ithaca is small. I don’t know where else they would go. That’s where I would go. “
Original Author: Juan Forrer