Enact the Reproductive and Sexual Health Bill of Rights for Wheaton College (MA)
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"We commit ourselves to behave in a manner which demonstrates concern for the personal dignity, rights and freedoms of all members of the community."
The above is a principle stated in the Wheaton College Honor Code, which all students must sign upon matriculation. Wheaton is an institution that prides itself on diversity, inclusion, and social change. Unfortunately, not all of Wheaton's current practices meet these expectations.
Over the past few months, Emerson Feminist Perspectives House's NARAL Pro-Choice chapter has been working in collaboration with several other student groups on campus to identify gaps in access to reproductive and sexual health care at Wheaton, along with broader issues of equity and accessibility for students. Based on our research of comparable colleges/universities, results from a survey distributed to the Wheaton student body, meetings and consultations with Health Services and interested student groups (including SHAG, Roosevelt, and FAW, among others), we have created the Wheaton Reproductive and Sexual Health Bill of Rights. When implemented, this bill will help to protect "the personal dignity, rights and freedoms of all members of the community," bringing Wheaton's practices in line with its espoused values.
The following are not radical demands. These small changes will go a long way in not only bringing Wheaton in line with its peers, but also in ensuring that every student is safe and healthy in the place where they live and learn.
Please sign onto the Reproductive and Sexual Health Bill of Rights to let President Dennis Hanno know that the Wheaton Community demands administrative action to implement these changes.
THE WHEATON REPRODUCTIVE AND SEXUAL HEALTH BILL OF RIGHTS
- Free external condoms, internal condoms, lube, and dental dams should be consistently available in an easily accessible and high-traffic areas on campus (such as Balfour) at any time of day. These safer sex supplies should also be provided to every Resident Advisor, without them having to contact Health Services. Additionally, these safer sex supplies should always be available for free to students at Norton Medical Center during their hours of operation.
- A separate fund, operated similarly to Student Activities or Venture Fund, should be established specifically to provide student organizations with money to purchase safer sex supplies to distribute. The application for this fund should be accessible via The Link and available to all clubs on campus.
- The current cost of Plan B is anywhere from $40-$50, a price that is out of reach for many students. As a medical necessity, Plan B should be available to students for free or at a drastically reduced price (no more than fifteen dollars) at Norton Medical Center. Ella, the similarly priced Plan B alternative, should also be offered for free or at a reduced price (no more than fifteen dollars) as Plan B is not effective for all individuals.
- Free HIV, STI, and pregnancy testing should remain available for students regularly and often, either through Norton Medical Center or through bringing another local healthcare provider to campus.
- Wheaton should compensate for any fluctuating lab fees charged by Sturdy Hospital to Norton Medical regarding HIV/STI/pregnancy testing—the cost of any services should not fluctuate for students.
- Wheaton should provide reimbursement for taxi fares, Enterprise rideshares, or Uber/Lyft fees to local healthcare providers or hospitals in order for students to access care that is unavailable at Wheaton.
- There should be a page on the Wheaton website dedicated to information on sexual and reproductive healthcare for students. This page should clearly delineate what services Wheaton offers, the cost of these services, how to access them, and who to contact about them.
- Links and information about where and how to access services not available through Wheaton (e.g. abortion services, IUDs and other long-acting birth control, follow-up appointments on positive pap smears, pregnancy care, Hepatitis C testing, and anything else that Norton Medical Center is unable to provide).
- Gender neutral language should be included throughout this page.
- LGBTQ-specific information on safer sex and reproductive and sexual healthcare should be included (e.g. information for same-gender couples, transgender-specific information, etc.).
- Any local healthcare providers recommended by Wheaton should be inclusive and sensitive to the needs of transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex students, and this should be communicated to students on the webpage.
- The Wheaton website should include information on what Wheaton health insurance covers, what the cost of services are, and guidance for using Wheaton health insurance on or off campus and over the summer. Providing a link to the Gallagher website is not sufficient.
- Information for students with regards to personal medical information, confidentiality, and insurance billing should be provided on the website. In particular, students should be made aware of whether and how services accessed at Norton Medical Center will appear on insurance statements that are received by their parents and/or guardians.
- Wheaton should work with student groups to develop an information sheet that clearly outlines how to access reproductive and sexual healthcare services at Wheaton and in the surrounding area. This information sheet should be distributed to students during First Year Orientation and posted in bathrooms across campus.
- Wheaton should work with Norton Medical Center to rebuild student trust in the care provided there. This could be accomplished through events such as tabling in Balfour with resources, “Meet Your Provider”-type events, or a healthcare fair, among others.
**Please state your affiliation with Wheaton when signing (student, faculty, alumni, etc...)**
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