The sexually transmitted infection (STI) scare in Kellam was nothing more than an unconfirmed rumor, however, it has opened the door for conversation and education. Many students and staff agree that there needs to be more awareness and this rumor has helped to start new programs and get people talking about these issues. Some hope this will lead to more large-scale education.
The recent reports from the Kellam Hall maintenance staff of the larva of genital lice or “crabs” in the showers are false, though they have sparked rumors about an outbreak of the STI.
When Residence Life became aware of this, they called a meeting with the Kellam residents to tackle this issue.
“It was not confirmed if it was crabs,” said Bray Village Coordinator Brian Daniel.
The Physical Plant workers bleached the showers and a hall meeting was held with the resident assistant and village coordinator.
“We took precautions just in case to make everyone feel better,” said senior Kellam Resident Assistant Brittany Babcock.
But for the students, these precautions were not enough.
“It was hectic. All the girls were talking about how [the school] wasn’t doing anything about it,” said a Kellam resident who wishes to remain anonymous. “All they did was throw bleach on the showers. We were concerned that the girl who had them was still taking showers in there.”
Residents in other halls were concerned about the infection spreading.
“I was concerned mainly because I didn’t hear of residents being advised to get tested to make sure they hadn’t contracted an STI,” said freshman Alexis Turner-Lafving.
Chaos spread to other places on campus because students did not know what to look for. Sophomore Eggleston Resident Assistant Tanya Puccio dealt with a false report of crabs. Puccio got a call from a student claiming that there might be crabs in the showers. Puccio reassured the student it was probably just bugs and she would handle the situation the next day.
“The student said it turned out to be red fuzz from a towel,” said Puccio, after she followed up with the student. “She thought they were crabs because she heard the crabs in Kellam were red.”
This raises the concern that there is not enough information given to students about STIs.
“If they seek it out, there is enough [information],” said Daniel. “However, there should be more educational programs.”
Sophomore Old Hall Resident Assistant Nancy Kelly decided to do her monthly bulletin board on having safe sex. This allowed Old Hall residents to become more informed.
“A lot of my residents helped me make my bulletin board,” said Kelly, which made a potentially awkward topic a fun event with her residents. “People liked it because it was a very controversial topic.”
The female resident assistants in Bray Village are continuing the discussion about STIs and safe sex by organizing an event called Sex Jeopardy, which will be held on March 20 at 9 p.m in Clarke. The idea was originated by Babcock, inspired by Daniel who organized a similar program at Guilford College as a resident assistant.
“[Resident assistants] had to do a program about sex education, so we did girls versus boys Sex Jeopardy,” said Daniel.
He expected around only 20 people to come. Since it was such a current concern, the Guilford event had about 200 people in attendance.
They expect their adaptation to bring in the same amount of students.
“Sex has been a hot topic recently,” said Kelly. “We’re expecting to have a lot of people because the residents are interested in the fun topic.” The topics will include ways to say “no,” information on STIs, fun facts and myths.
“We are hoping to help make our residents more aware of all the different topics,” said Babcock.
“There should be STI education during orientation,” said sophomore Charles Krauser. “We already talk about alcohol awareness, why not STIs? The situation in Kellam was all hysteria, but it opens up a dialogue.”