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Thursday, September 28, 2023 — Houston, TX

CTIS talks more about sex

Genesis Hahn / Thresher

By Maria Morkas     8/22/23 11:42pm

Critical Thinking in Sexuality, a course designed for new students to discuss interpersonal relationships and violence prevention, now includes an additional sixth session about pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prevention. These changes follow a pilot session tested last year.

SAFE Office Associate Director Janie Guerrero said when CTIS was first implemented in 2018, there was a concern about speaking directly about sex. 

“However, as dialogue has changed around sex, students felt it was time to incorporate a sixth session to assist students in staying healthy should they [choose] to engage in sex, and to provide students who do not engage in sex with the tools to have conversations with their sexually active friends about protecting themselves from [sexually transmitted infections] and unwanted pregnancies,” Guerrero said.

Duncan College sophomore Sophia Soltes said she thinks that STI prevention and healthy communication are important topics that aren’t talked about enough.

“This topic is important to discuss because it is relevant to many, if not all, relationships,” Soltes said. “Additionally, it is something that many high school [sexual education] curriculums don’t cover. Given the sociopolitical environment right now, it is as important as ever that young adults understand what it really means to be in a physically and mentally healthy relationship.”

Soltes said that she remembers thinking that the CTIS curriculum could be improved by discussing STI and unwanted pregnancy prevention when she took the class, as such discussions give students information they will find useful in the future.

Lovett College freshman Jay Natarajan said he thinks the new session is beneficial as it prepares new students for college life and beyond.

“Especially given the ambiguous political climate [in Texas] right now, having a session to clarify any concerns for freshmen, especially those not from Texas, would be helpful,” Natarajan said. “Rice’s culture is welcoming to freshmen and provides them with all of the information they need to thrive, so I think [the extension] would be a welcome addition to the class.”

Guerrero said the SAFE Office is always open to students wishing to petition amendments to the curriculum. To make amendments, a proposal can be made to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator Allison Vogt, who works with administration and the Student Association Internal Vice President committee to add or modify the curriculum, Guerrero said.

Guerrero added that the SAFE Office hopes to collect feedback from the incoming students through listening sessions about the session later in the semester. 

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