“Uranus awaits”

Controversial board explores myths and facts around "back door exploration"

Published by Annabelle Chipps, Date: January 24, 2024
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A bulletin in Watson Hall displays information about anal sex. CA Ella Bloom will not take the board down despite online negativity.

A bulletin board dedicated to education about anal sex sparked debate at Slippery Rock University. The board currently hangs in Watson Hall and reads “Uranus Awaits.”

Shortly after it was erected, individuals contacted KDKA reporter Marty Griffin with concerns. Some even threatened to pull their children out of SRU.

In a post addressing the topic, Griffin wrote that some parents and students referred to it as “woke gone berserk.” Chief Student Affairs Officer David Wilmes told Griffin the board was “one of the inclusive ways [SRU] provide[s] support for our students to help make healthy choices.”

The post received nearly 300 comments ranging from support to disapproval. Critics called it “deplorable” and “a disgrace,” while others acknowledged it as informative.

The board was created by CA Ella Bloom and was approved by Residence Life, as is every bulletin put up by community assistants (CAs). This one was meant to promote wellness for the student population.

“As a returning community assistant, I was inspired to create this bulletin board based on a creative TikTok I saw from another RA focused on safe sex education,” Bloom said. “Ironically, I actually made this same bulletin board last year as a first-year community assistant.”

Though she received backlash online, Bloom said support from students has been “overwhelmingly positive.”  

“My residents have expressed nothing but appreciation for bridging an often taboo topic with genuine education,” she said, “[A]s expected with any visible platform, some criticisms appeared online by less informed audiences.”

She then emphasized the importance of providing sex education of all kinds. She said that according to Statista.com, 40% of Americans have attempted or completed anal sex. 

“Unsurprisingly, anonymity emboldens critics. But college exploration necessitates graceful presentations of diverse lifestyles, relationships and sexualities…Progress arises when we lead with patience, not condemnation,” Bloom said. 

“The best part of educational bulletin boards is that they allow passive learning. Meaning that with the stigma around anal intercourse, this board serves as a great resource for students that might not be comfortable having an in-person conversation about [the topic],” the CA said.

Bloom wants her residents and other SRU students to know that her door is “always open” for guidance and that she is honored to be a part of the SRU community. 

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