Sexual Health Meets Journalism

IMG_0235Making connections with other departments, programs, offices and organizations is important at a large college like CCNY. So the journalism program makes a point of connecting with Student Health Services every semester.

Two weeks ago, the very dynamic peer health educator Jonathan Suncar presented a press conference to 20 Introduction to Journalism students. Suncar, who’ll graduate this May and then move on to medical school, kept the conversation lively and the information relevant. The students were so engaged, they almost forgot the goal was to report on his visit.

But McCauley Honors student Chrisinda Lynch kept her journalist “hat” on and nailed the story:

Sex Workshop Sparks Discussion in CCNY Class

by Chrisinda Lynch


Peer health educator and future neurologist Jonathan Suncar.

Jonathan Suncar, a peer health educator from City College’s Student Health Services, visited a CCNY journalism class on Thursday, February 21st to discuss sex and relationships. Suncar, a psychology student who has served as an educator for two years, engaged students with five statements used in the workshop “Love, Lust and the Shades of Grey in Between.”

“Shades of Grey,” the first in a series of four sex workshops offered by Health Services in the spring semester, gives students the opportunity to define their values and boundaries before engaging in a relationship. According to Suncar, when students enter new relationships they “usually fall into peer pressure, don’t know where they stand, [and] don’t communicate properly.” Through different activities, workshop participants learn how to avoid these problems. IMG_0242

Suncar led a lively discussion that dealt with a variety of topics, ranging from oral sex to disclosure of STD history. Suncar read each statement aloud, and asked the class to raise their hands if they agreed, disagree, or fell somewhere in between. Then, students defended their positions on the issue.

The last statement—women “should always have the final say to proceed with an unplanned pregnancy”—proved to be the most controversial for students. The class was divided over the issue, and discussion became heated between the two sides. Those who disagreed said that both parties should have equal input in the decision. “At the end of the day, this is something that’s going to have a drastic impact on both our lives,” explained one student.

Other participants felt that the woman, as the carrier of the fetus, should have the last word. “It is the woman’s decision, because if she does decide to have the baby, that’s nine months of her life,” said a student. Another participant, who identified as “in between,” acknowledged the shades of grey in the question. “What about women who get raped, or a one-night stand… it can go so many different ways in so many different circumstances,” she said.

As the class came to a close, Suncar stressed the importance of open discussion about sex. “Communication is key,” he said. “That is the message to take away from this activity.” IMG_0232