To determine their rankings, Trojan looks at these 11 areas in health centers for university sexual health:
• Hours of operation
• Allow drop-ins or require appointments for student scheduling
• Quality of sexual health information and resources on website
• Contraceptive availability — free or at cost
• Condom availability — free or at cost
• HIV testing on-site (On/off campus, cost)
• STI testing on-site (On/off campus, cost)
• Lecture/outreach programs and student peer groups for sexual health education
• Sexual assault programs, resources or services
• Overall website usability and quality
• Extra credit
Ball State’s ranking for sexual health resources and awareness has fallen 12 spots from last year, and 26 spots from 2011.
The rankings are sponsored by Trojan condoms and are based on how effective university health centers are at providing services and information about sex to campuses. Out of 140 campuses, Ball State was ranked 42nd. In 2012, it was 30th, and 16th in 2011.
Diana Jones, a women’s health nurse practitioner, said she can’t think of what may have caused the rankings to change.
“I don’t think I’ve changed at all in how I do my teaching with students, and I’m the only provider here in the Women’s Center,” she said.
The use of the internet to inform students of university resources and safe sex practices has allowed several schools to rise through the rankings, according to the study.
“Even schools with minimal resources are keeping students informed [on the internet,]” said Bert Sperling, president of Sperling’s BestPlaces, who worked on the study. “This has greatly influenced the study year over year, and we’re excited to see how this trend evolves as schools and students get savvier about their sexual health and campus resources.”
Jones said the university does several things to promote safe sex. Health educators provide free condoms to students, and the Amelia T. Wood Health Center provides other contraceptives, check-ups and testing for sexually-transmitted diseases.
The Counseling Center teams with the health center to put on Sexual Awareness Week, which is also factored into Trojan’s rankings. Guest speakers and university officials host programs and speak about sex. Jones said turnout is usually fairly high.
Jones said sexual health tends to be more geared toward women instead of both sexes.
“There’s a disparity there for sure, but I don’t know what the answer is in taking care of it,” she said. “Men should be just as proactive in sexual health as women. It feels like sexual health is the female problem, but it is a male problem too.”