Friday, June 24, 2011

Cognitive dissonance in faculty recruiting

The University of South Carolina has what I understand to be a very high quality School of Public Health. They are looking for a tenure-track faculty member with a description that matches my own research fairly well, studying "sexualities, sexual behavior, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, LGBT disparities or other sexuality and health issues." Particularly, they want someone who advocates and engages with community, state, national, and global organizations.

I checked their sex ed laws, and according to this profile, they are one of 7 states in the US to prohibit positive depictions of homosexuality in public schools, not a favorable start for any researcher who studies LGBT issues to advocate or engage with the community and local institutions. They also prohibit contraception information other than in the context of future family planning, which is better than nothing. SC is also one of the minority of states to apply for the federal abstinence-only sex education funding, meaning that the programs funded by that funding cannot even mention contraception in any positive way at all.

On the bright side, they also applied for the federal evidence-based sex education and pregnancy prevention funds, which they could certainly use since SC has the third highest gonorrhea rate in the country, and 8% of women ages 15-19 get pregnant each year, and 5% give birth. Looking at the gap between pregnancy and birth rates, it's particularly remarkable because 72% of SC women live in a county without an abortion provider (93% of counties lack an abortion provider), Medicaid does not fund abortions, they mandate a 24 hour waiting period and all procedures 12 weeks and after are a felony with mandatory minimum of 5 years in jail and/or $5000 fine.

Thanks to NARAL and Kaiser for the facts. The SC ACLU also has a long access guide listing all the sexuality, family planning, and related resources (e.g., PFLAG) in the state and neighboring states. So the state fortunately has some resources, even if they get an F by NARAL.

No comments: