Even though the Catholic Church condemns pre-marital sex, Villanova cannot afford to ignore the sexual environment of a modern college campus, especially when it receives national attention for its lack of sexual health resources and education.

In the second installment of Trojan’s Sexual Health Report Card, Villanova earned a miserable 135th place out of the 139 American universities investigated. In the study, Trojan examined the resources each college made available to its students, not only contraception but also the presence and frequency of sexual awareness and counseling programs.

Last year, according to the University Web site, 44 percent of those who applied to Villanova did so from private schools, most of which were Catholic. Therefore almost half of the freshman class came to Villanova having had abstinence-only sex education. This means that most of these students begin their first year of college with a limited formal knowledge of sex topics, including contraceptives, STIs and issues regarding pregnancy and abortion. In college, an atmosphere where students have relative sexual freedom, they simply cannot afford to ignore the ramifications of their sexual activities, should they choose to engage in them.

This is where the core values of the University clash with those of modern society. For example, at many public universities, contraception is very much encouraged and often handed out like candy, whereas sex is barely even mentioned and often a taboo subject at Villanova.

Sure, a student can Wikipedia chlamydia and try to get the facts themselves, but a sincere effort by the University to educate students on this issue would show that it truly cares about the students’ wellbeing in its entirety, rather than ignoring this glaring aspect of a young person’s life for the sake of religious orthodoxy.

The University is making a sincere effort to improve the situation, but more must be done. The Office of Health Promotion has a few programs in place that address sexual health, but there has been no campus-wide initiative to remedy the lack of sexual literacy at Villanova.

Rather than mandating AlchoholEdu, students would benefit more from some kind of SexEdu. According to a study done by the National Institute of Health in 2006, 75 percent of high school seniors had consumed alcohol, but the CDC reported in 2002 that only 65 percent students aged 18-19 had had sex. This demonstrates that the first year of college is when students most need support and information. A program at Villanova could approach the issue comprehensively, emphasizing postponement and Catholic values but also include the necessary statistics and numbers students need to make informed decisions about the physical and emotional aspects of their sex lives.

The University should not abandon its Catholic heritage and values in order to cater to a sexually liberal world, but it cannot ignore important issues just to save Catholic face. We must embrace the mission of educating the student body more effectively and create an atmosphere at Villanova that is responsive and willing to discuss this touchy issue.