Editorial: Let's talk about sex UP

By The Beacon | April 19, 2017 8:21pm

Health and Counseling Center Director Margaret Trout has played a key role in implementing additional mental health resources on campus.

Media Credit: Meah Ortiz / The Beacon

Last week, Health and Counseling Center Director Margaret Trout announced that she will be leaving UP at the end of the semester to fill a similar position at the University of California, Davis. Although Trout has only been working at UP for two years, she has brought about incredible, positive change.

From the minute she arrived, she began dragging conversations about sex out from dark dorm rooms and into the light. Students were having sex long before she got here - a recent survey done by New York Magazine found that upwards of 40 percent of undergraduate students said they were sexually active. This survey was given to over 700 students from undergraduate colleges and universities across the country.

But now UP students have a Health & Counseling Center that will willingly talk with them about it, even if they can’t prescribe contraceptives.

She replaced abstinence posters in the Health Center waiting room with infographics about menstruation, hired students for the Student Health Advisory Board, hired Tiger Simpson as UP’s Wellness Educator and Violence Prevention coordinator, introduced a Diversity Dialogues Week session about healthy sex and sexual relationships, and was adviser to Students Against Sexual Assault, which has already hosted multiple campus-wide events in its first year as a student organization.

Trout has created a space on campus for students to talk about sex and interpersonal relationships, something that did not exist before her time here. Moreover, she’s made it possible for students to openly care for their reproductive health, by making STD tests at the Health Center accessible and promoting other sexual health information.

The Beacon editorial board commends Trout for the hard work she has put in to promote the health and safety of UP students in the past two years. As the University seeks to fill her position, The Beacon encourages the hire of an equally qualified and passionate person who will continue to prioritize sexual health, interpersonal safety and mental wellness on The Bluff.

UP students are having sex. This will not change.

In the past year in particular, students have proven to be especially intolerant of campus sexual assault, and passionate about the importance of interpersonal safety. And at a time in life when a lot is up in the air, college students should have the resources to find a sense of control over their reproductive health.

Conversations about sex cannot leave with Trout. Students deserve to continue to be able to be open about their sex lives and relationships, and they deserve to be able to shamelessly ask questions and have access to reliable information to ensure their safety.