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DePaul Ranks Dead Last In Sexual Health Resource Survey

CHICAGO (CBS) -- DePaul University ranked dead last in a recent "Sexual Health Report Card" measuring the availability of such services as contraception and STD testing.

Released late last month, the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, sponsored by Trojan condoms and Sperling's Best Places, ranked DePaul at No. 141, at the very bottom of the list.

The school, which has its main campus in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, was even one spot below Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where premarital sex is forbidden by the school's Honor Code.

DePaul ranked near the bottom last year too, at No. 139.

Also ranking near the bottom was Chicago State University, which came in just three spots from the bottom at No. 138. Last year, Chicago State was just one ranking better, at No. 137.

But the news wasn't all bad for colleges and universities around the area. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ranked second overall, only behind Columbia University in New York City. Last year, the U of I ranked 62nd.

Northwestern University also jumped from No. 63 to No. 28, for what the researchers called "extensive peer education programs that provide students with a wealth of information, events and workshops on sexual health."

Despite being an institution of worldwide prominence, the University of Chicago apparently was not part of the study. Loyola University and the University of Illinois at Chicago were also left off the list.

The study was based on data collected from student health center representatives and students.

Researchers took into account the student opinions of campus health centers, their hours of operation and whether they allowed walk-ins, and the presence of special sexual health awareness programs. The rankings also weighed whether the school offers onsite HIV and STD testing, anonymous advice for students on sexual issues, outreach programs and peer groups, and sexual assault victim resources.

Also considered were whether condoms and contraceptives were available on campus – and whether they were given away or sold at cost.

The DePaulia student newspaper addressed the study in a recent article. It pointed out that condom distribution at the Roman Catholic university is not allowed.

As quoted in the article, the DePaul student policy and procedure manual says the university "reserves the right to restrict the distribution of medical or health supplies/devices items on university premises that it deems to be inappropriate from the perspective of the institution's mission and values. Specifically, the distribution of birth control devices, of any kind, is strictly prohibited on university premises."

Furthermore, the school expects that Catholic teachings will be included in any discussions of health and lifestyle issues, the DePaulia reported.

The DePaul Student Health Advocacy group does hold HIV testing, and its members speak to students about general sexual health, gay and lesbian health, sexual assault, and condom use.

But advocacy group president Erin Freund tells the DePaulia that her group is also asked to talk about abstinence and practices that conform to Catholic values, although the administration does not need to approve the group's events.

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