Matthew Scott Moore

Rochester Institute of Technology, January 29, 1982


Sexual Roles Topic Of Discussion

The two programs in the Human Sexuality Series, before the concluding presentation by Shere Hite, took place on Wednesday, January 20, and Monday, January 25.

Roles, expectations, rights and responsibilities were issues addressed at the Human Sexuality series on Wednesday, January 20. The setting, a panel discussion, was located in the NTID Dining Commons. The panel consisted of two RIT administrators, Dr. Fred Smith, vice president of Student Affairs, and Ellie Rosenfield, chairwoman of NTID Student Life, and two students, Matt Moore and Brenda Robinson. Questions asked of the panel were compiled by the moderator, Donna Rubin of NTID, and several students. In a forum of nearly 50 students, controversial issues and convictions held by administration and students were discussed.

A series of eight questions answered by the panel typified their views. When asked if coed residence halls lend themselves to more sexual interaction, the general audience consensus indicated interaction would increase. However, research evidence supports the beliefs of the panel members that coed facilities do not tend to promote sexual interaction. Student sexuality was an issue addressed by the panel, particularly the concept that students receive pressures to become sexually active. There was general agreement that pressures do exist, but are within the individual. Ways to alleviate such pressures, suggested the panel, would encompass establishing a rapport between a student’s true identity and social identity, or establish self confidence and values even though they might deviate from the norms of others in the environment. If barriers do exist between values held and those of others, try communicating with friends and counselors to resolve differences. Other questions raised to the panel included, how should roommates handle situations when encountered with a gay roommate; and should roommates be obligated to relinquish their room to accommodate overnight guests? The overall consensus was roommates should discuss the differences and not impose any restrictions that might violate rights of other roommates.

The last controversial question asked of the panel was: some students are sexually active, and if responsible behavior is warranted, should condom dispensers be made available in bathrooms? The mutual understanding was people are going to indulge in sexual relationships, and should do so in a responsible manner. Having contraceptive devices available allows for students to react responsibly to a spontaneous situation. However, by increasing the availability of birth control devices, anxiety exists, in the fear of communicating the advocation of sexual relationships. Currently, birth control devices are available at Student Health Services.

The subject of last Monday’s program in the Human Sexuality Series was Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Following a film, members of the Student Health Service and a representative from Planned Parenthood responded to questions from the audience. A slide show concluded the presentation.

The film and the following question and answer session served to dispel some misconceptions about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). The point was made that with most STD’s it is possible for the victim to be unaware that he is infected as the symptoms are not always visible. Because of this situation, medical examinations are helpful. It was also mentioned that the Student Health Service provides free STD tests for students and that doctor-patient confidentiality is upheld.

With many STD’s, the symptoms will go away by themselves, but the disease remains and has damaging effects. Most STD’s can be cured with proper medical attention. An exception is Herpes Simplex II, which is incurable because it is caused by a virus, whereas most other STD’s are caused by bacteria. (A viral infection differs from a bacterial infection in that the virus is an organism that invades human cells, while a bacterium itself is a cell.) In a response to a question from the audience, it was said that although there are no home remedies for STD’s, the chance of preventing them can be greatly improved by the use of contraceptive devices such as condoms. The mistaken beliefs that one develops and immunity to some STD’s, and that birth control pills are effective in preventing the infections, were also refuted by the responding panel.

–A. Branch and D. Furey

Photocaption: Roles, Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities was the title of the panel discussion for the January 20th presentation of RIT’s Human Sexuality Series. (Photo: Chin/Reporter)

Reporter, Rochester Institute of Technology, January 29, 1982

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