Public university offers men gift cards to discuss their sexuality
Would you discuss your sexuality for a $20 gift card? Counselors at Oregon State University hope so.
OSU’s Male Advocates for Responsible Sexuality (MARS), a university-funded program, is offering $20 Fred Meyer gift cards to male students who schedule and attend an appointment with MARS.
"Funding a program like this is about as far from what I would expect my student fees to be used for."
According to MARS’s website, the program’s goal is “to increase male involvement in responsible decision making regarding sexual health among males.” To achieve that goal, MARS uses educational outreach and invites men to attend individual clinic consultations.
"[MARS] provides an opportunity to speak to a peer in a confidential and comfortable environment and discuss sexual health issues," the organization's website states, and lists subjects such as relationships, "testicular self-exams," abstinence and contraceptive methods, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
Eileen Grigsby, a health promotion assistant for OSU’s Student Health services, told Campus Reform that the gift cards are aimed at boosting the number of male students scheduling consultations with MARS representatives.
OSU senior Colby GeDeros disagrees with the program’s use of student fees to fund the gift cards. According to GeDeros, men on campus shouldn’t be “bribed into discussing their sexual health.”
“I think the idea of an incentive program to get men to discuss their sexuality and sexual preferences with the school is outrageous,” GeDeros told Campus Reform. “Funding a program like this is about as far from what I would expect my student fees to be used for.”
In addition to offering gift cards, MARS recently gathered in OSU’s campus quad to distribute candy bars and condoms.
“We’re just trying to get more people to be aware of the events we have going on and more hype with our program,” OSU junior Hannah Zyirek told the Daily Barometer.
MARS did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @gabriellahope_