Boise State receives a C on sexual report card

There is nothing sexy about a “C” on a report card—especially if that grade is in sexual health.

But a “C” is the grade that Boise State received this year based on the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card Rankings.

“A C is a degree but everyone wants an A,” said Perry Truong, a freshman at Boise State studying marketing, about the rankings.

The Trojan Sexual Health Report Card is an annual study conducted by Sperling’s BestPlaces. It ranks 140 colleges and universities across the country on the accessibility of sexual health resources provided to students on campus.

Some Boise State students expressed confidence about the availability of sexual health resources on campus.

“If I wanted information on sexual health I would go to the Women’s Center,” Truong said. “But I heard they provide free condoms at Norco.”

This year, Boise State ranked 67th, losing 15 places from their 2012 ranking of 52nd.  This computes roughly to a GPA of 2.1—or a letter grade “C” based on the Boise State University grading system.

In the Sexual Health Report Card, university health services are graded on 11 separate categories including condom and contraceptive availability, and the availability of HIV and STI testing.

“Every year you have an influx of people coming to college for the first time. Sexual health is a concern for them and they don’t know where to go or who to talk to,” said Andy Barsness, a junior studying communication.

Boise State’s ranking may reflect a need for greater sexual health outreach by the university.

“I don’t actively seek information on sexual health through the university, but even if I did I wouldn’t know where to go,” Barsness said.

Boise State has struggled to make the grade over the eight years that the study has been conducted. It had a highly inconsistent performance ranging from poor to slightly above average.

According to Bert Sperling, the head researcher of Sperling’s BestPlaces, the overall trend among all universities has been improvement across the board in the eight years that the study has been conducted.

“The Sexual Health Report Card is all about putting information in the hands of students so that they can make their own smart and safe decisions,” Sperling told The Arbiter.

The Sexual Health Report Card itself has inspired students across the country to take initiatives to advance the cause of sexual health at their universities.

“Often times students take our findings and go to the administrations at their universities to say ‘Hey, we are not doing as well as we think we should, what can we do to improve access to resources and improve our ranking?’” Sperling said.

The Internet has largely contributed to improved accessibility of sexual health resources. While student health centers have been slow to adopt the web as a means of getting information out, they are catching on quickly.

“In the last five or six years we’ve seen a big change in the amount and type of information like contraception and safe-sex practices that is being made available to students,” Sperling said.

The 140 universities selected for the 2013 Sexual Health Report are chosen by relative size by student population and are often compared alongside their collegiate peers.

Peer universities are chosen based on athletic conference.

Small universities that have an outsized influence, like the Ivy League schools, are also graded.

In the future, Sperling’s BestPlaces intends to expand the study to additional universities in the United States.

Princeton University is the number one ranking university this year.

About the author  ⁄ katiemeikle