Leave it to the Other Professionals

In last week’s article “A Lesson from the Past,” Sayer Devlin ’16 called to the faculty and administrators “to provide accurate information and necessary resources and give students their personal insight” regarding sexual behaviors and desires. When I first read through Devlin’s article, I nodded along with his arguments, as faculty probably do have much more experience and knowledge on the topic. After reading “Confronting the Comfort Zone” by Michael Legaspi, Interim Chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies, however, I found myself no longer wholeheartedly supporting Devlin. Dr. Legaspi pointed out that many of the adults on campus do not feel comfortable or confident talking to students about sex, and I realized that it may be unfair for us students to ask faculty members to be so open about a subject that even our own parents may not be comfortable discussing with us. By the nature of a boarding school, Andover faculty members interact with students beyond just the classroom setting; they are not only as teachers but also coaches, club advisors and house counselors. I believe that the Andover faculty members are already all going far beyond what is asked of them, doing everything in their power to provide support for hundreds of restless, insecure adolescents and fill the vacancy of our parents. But we must keep in mind that they are not our parents, although our frequent and often intimate interaction with them leads us to believing that faculty members should be responsible for overseeing and guiding us in all aspects of our lives. Faculty should not be asked to go even further, especially at the expense of their comfort, to advise us on sexual behaviors and desires. In his article, Dr. Legaspi suggested a faculty-wide dialogue about sex so that all faculty members would know how to appropriately and wisely advise and talk to the students about such topics. I would like to propose something radically different: to have a select group of professional sex educators in charge of the dialogue regarding sex. Recent discussions about our current sex education and its faults focused heavily on the brevity and inconsistency of the program, with some people pointing out that the mandatory dorm meeting about sex and relationship with the house counselors in the Fall is sometimes not conducted properly, in terms of its length or seriousness. Having a set group of people organizing and conducting the campus-wide room visiting talks will not only prevent uncomfortable house counselors from hastily concluding these important dorm meetings without letting the discussion to really develop, but also allow all students to get the same depth and type of education regarding sex, other sexual behaviors and relationships. House counselors, even if they are comfortable talking to the students about sex, lack both the professional training and knowledge to provide us with the highest level of education we need and deserve. For most of us, Andover is a place where we truly open our eyes to the idea of sex and sexual desires as we mature into adulthood in various aspects. In such a critical stage of our lives, it is absolutely imperative that we are under the most professional guidance possible.