Jacky Chen

Student Health Services in Watson Hall offers students, contraceptive counseling and STI screening, amongst other sexual health services.

Sexual health at this Christian university

While not always easy to find, SPU’s options for healthy sex practices wide ranging

brochures in a rack, with one reading "take control of your birth control"
Jacky Chen
Student Health Services in Watson Hall offers students, contraceptive counseling and STI screening, amongst other sexual health services.

Across the nation, college campuses offer easy access health service centers on campus for students. The range of services differ drastically from school to school.

The resources available for sexual health vary depending on the religious tradition of each school. Public universities like the University of Washington are very open when discussing sexual health services.

“Our door is always open to students looking for safer sex supplies,” UW Health Center website states. Around the UW campus, condoms and other safe sex methods are provided in various locations to ensure student health.

At Seattle Pacific University, these services are not so explicitly stated. According to the SPU Health Services website, services are limited to primary care such as acute illness, prescription refills and wellness care such as physicals and women’s annual exams.

But SPU offers more than what is stated on the online Health Services website, such as pregnancy tests and birth control prescriptions.

As a Wesleyan private school, SPU campaigns for abstinence from sexual activity, as detailed in the student code of conduct. Two sentences outline what prohibitions students are expected to follow upon enrollment in the university.

“Sexual activity outside of a married relationship. Cohabitation between two persons in an amorous relationship who are not married to each other is also prohibited.”

These two sentences are not followed with explanation. Meanwhile, Whitworth University, a presbyterian affiliated school, provides explanation for similar policies.

“The Whitworth community’s commitment to the authority of Scripture leads us to believe that the genital sexual relationship is to be understood and experienced within the context of marriage, and that to express it otherwise would diminish the high regard we have for this gift from God.”

But unlike SPU, Whitworth’s Health Center services explicitly state that birth control prescriptions, women’s exams and STI testing are all available to students, whereas the SPU Health Service’s website only offers STD testing.

Although these services may be the standards of some universities, SPU Health Services still offers sexual health services on campus and can do so through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act ensures the privacy of medical information between only the providers and the patient.

“We do offer STI screening, contraceptive counseling, pregnancy tests, and prenatal counseling. All services are confidential and all are welcome. We adhere to HIPAA privacy standards, as required with any healthcare setting,” wrote Kris Haldeman, family nurse practitioner at SPU, in an email.

In a college setting, these rules and regulations are taken seriously. Therefore, here at SPU, regardless of the Student Standards of Conduct, these services are provided with confidentiality.

In the online spring quarter format, SPU Health Services is currently offering limited appointments in Watson Hall and online, over-the-phone appointments.

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