Sunday, September 15

UCLA orientation sex education presentation criticized


Two first-year students recently chose not to participate in part of a sex education presentation offered at UCLA’s freshman orientation for religious reasons, prompting confusion about whether the presentation is mandatory.

Bella and Angelica Ayala, twin first-year biology students, said they wanted to be exempt from part of UCLA’s mandatory sex education presentation in late August because of moral objections to contraception.

New Student Orientation lasts three days and includes informational sessions on extracurricular activities, academics and class enrollment procedures at UCLA, as well as discussions about topics like sex and alcohol.

The 90-minute-long program is called “Socially Speaking: Life Outside the Classroom” and covers the topics of sexual assault, alcohol and substance abuse as well as sexual health, said Roxanne Neal, director of UCLA’s New Student & Transition Programs.

One part of the program includes a skit about sexual consent, during which students are encouraged to openly discuss what constitutes consent between two parties, she said. The program isn’t segmented and is meant to be cohesive because these topics can overlap, she added.

Angelica Ayala said she and her sister are Catholic and, according to the Catholic Church, sex is meant for married couples and procreation.

The sisters said they disagreed with the birth control that was promoted during the presentation, such as condoms and birth control pills.

The twins said they thought attending the presentation was mandatory, but they still asked if they could be excused from it, and were told by counselors they could sit out during parts of it.

Angelica Ayala said she asked to excuse herself from a portion of the program due to moral objections with the discussion taking place and is not being required to make up the section.

But Bella Ayala, who put in her headphones instead of leaving the presentation room, is being required make up the section by orientation staff at the event.

Neal declined to comment on whether or not Bella Ayala had to make up part of the presentation for privacy reasons. She added that neither of the twins had approached her about the issue.

The twins said they were confused by the staff’s response to their actions. They said they were not sure whether or not attending the presentation was mandatory.

Following the incident, UCLA released a statement about the sex education presentation and the disagreement.

“The goal of the presentation is to provide health and safety related information to incoming students, and it in no way advocates either sexual activity or abstinence,” the UCLA statement said.

The university said in the statement that attendance is mandatory.

“As part of UCLA’s commitment to creating and maintaining a healthy and safe campus environment, all new UCLA students during orientation are required to attend an education program developed in accordance with state and federal guidelines,” the statement said.

The California Education Code states that information on sexual assault should be provided to new students.

“Comprehensive information about acquaintance rape and other kinds of sexual assaults should be provided at all new student orientation programs and at any campus program that students are required to attend,” the code states.

Before the presentation, the sisters also passed out pamphlets with information on sexually transmitted diseases. The pamphlets promoted abstinence as a way to avoid these risks.

The pamphlets were, however, confiscated because it was a private event, Bella Ayala said.

Students are more than welcome to pass out literature as long as it is in a publicly accessible place such as Bruin Walk, Neal said.

The literature was confiscated because the program follows specific guidelines to comply with state and federal policies and the pamphlets were not distributed on behalf of the program, Neal added.

“I wish the school would be more forthright about what sections of the presentation were mandatory and which were not,” Bella Ayala said. “Students should have more of an opportunity to express concern or decline to attend that section of the presentation.”

Bella and Angelica Ayala said they are seeking the help of the Life Legal Defense Foundation to clarify the confusion and ambiguity in UC, state and federal policy on the issue.

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  • ErikaMacA

    May I suggest to those girls a Sex Ed Mobile App: MY SEX DOCTOR. The app
    offers tons of information about sex and sexuality in simple english.
    There are no graphic images that can hurt one’s sensibilty and the
    language used is always respectful and non judgementaal. Moreover, not
    needing an internet connection the app can be aceess anytime, anyplace
    in total privacy. You can ccheck it out at http//mysexdoctor.org

  • contraception is smart

    Are they going to come to my door and sell a Bible to me, too?

    • tomhayward

      Only if you’re done playing Dirty Sanchez with your boyfriend.

  • Joey

    I can’t take midterms or finals because its against my religion.

    • tomhayward

      That is awesome! What a great excuse to cover that you were too drunk to make it to school that day.

      • p3orion

        And if you say you’re Muslim, they’ll be afraid to ask for any details.

  • Loons have a right to be loons

    Orientation isn’t mandatory, so why should this be?

    FYI – I don’t share these girls’ values at all. I think it’s sad that they were raised with such a high level of extreme religiosity that they can’t even sit through a sex ed class. But I’m not going to force my beliefs on them.

  • damnstraight

    They are well within their rights to sit out of a discussion about something that offends them. Sounds pretty fascist to me to require a student to “make up” something that they have religious objections to. I remember sitting through those god-awful presentations and they were nothing more than a high-school like auditorium of teenagers hooting and watching their peers put a condom on a banana. Give me a break it’s required by the CA guidelines.

  • UCLA, ’85

    Oh for gosh sakes, grow up! Being educated about sex and contraception doesn’t mean you are agreeing to have premarital sex or to use birth control. And guess what–Catholics get sexually assaulted too–Do these women really believe that the Catholic Church doesn’t want them to know what constitutes sexual consent? Certainly not the Catholic Church I was raised in.

    • tomhayward

      If you’re in college and don’t understand yet that unprotected sex is not a good thing and that drinking and drugs can lead to health issues and legal troubles, than you’re an idiot.

      Tell you what UCLA ’85, I am sure you’re just a star graduate and brilliant in all things, please provide hard statistics that this 90 minute training has yielded a drop in rape or unintended pregnancy rates.

      Shoe me the goods, or shut up.

  • Charlie

    It’s mandatory that students receive the information regardless of whether or not students choose to attend Orientation. They just offer it at Orientation for convenience. If the realities about sexual assault and other domestic violence are offensive to these students, perhaps they need to reconsider the campus they chose to attend as UCLA takes these topics very seriously (as any large university should). Having also sat through the presentation, the sexual health portion was very neutral and was loaded with a blatantly obvious “We’re not advocating this behavior, but here’s how to be as safe as possible if you CHOOSE to do this…” tone. Can’t wrap my head around what these girls are upset about. However, It’s very telling that they had pamphlets ready to hand out prior to the presentation. Sounds like they had a very particular agenda already and are now trying to play the victim.

    • good point

      “However, It’s very telling that they had pamphlets ready to hand out prior to the presentation.”

      Good point – It does seem that they went in there ready to preach. Still, in principle, I think they should be able to opt out, however lame of a choice that is.

      • Charlie

        Really don’t know how more neutral they could have been, though. I suspect that anything other than an “abstinence only” presentation would have been offensive to them. I understand the need to be sensitive to other people’s religious views, but come on. You should also be adult enough to talk about these things in an manner without being offended.

  • UCLA_92

    These twins are BIO majors?
    Are they going to debate issues like, oh, science throughout their education? Will they sue UC for failing to offer “Creationism?”
    Public school is clearly the wrong choice for these two. Unless they do have an adjenda to sue-as-they-go, perhaps they should leave UCLA and go to a Christian college where critical thinking isn’t required.

    • C/O 2013

      I couldn’t help but laugh, I don’t usually see Catholics being as aggressive in promoting their ideals, but I can just imagine the debates in LS1 when talking about Darwinism and Evolution.

      • wichitajunebride

        Catholics are actually fine with Darwin and evolution. We believe that, if humans descended from other creatures, then at a certain point God made them distinctly different, or “human.” At which point their souls where immortal, rather than simply animate.

        I went to a very conservative Catholic university where your required biology could be filled with this class (taught by an apparently wonderful Darwin expert/biggest fan):

        3348. Darwin. Investigations of the life and discoveries of Charles Darwin. Beginning with pre-Darwinian ideas on transmutation, Darwin’s life is outlined from the voyage of the Beagle to the publication of the theory of natural selection and its subsequent reception by scientific and nonscientific community. Commentary from critics and supporters of Darwin’s work aid in understanding the current status of the theory of natural selection and its influence. Prerequisites: None. Spring, even-numbered years.
        http://udallas.edu/constantin/programs/biology/courses.html

        I wanted to take it but it didn’t fit in my schedule. My then fiancé, now husband, says it was a fabulous class.
        http://udallas.edu/constantin/programs/biology/faculty/marsden.html

  • Kevin Hamilton

    I’m confused as to why everyone is upset…because they believe something different than us? How is their decision to not attend this harming any of you. From what I remember from my own orientation sex ed thing, the purpose of it is to better educate students about sex and drinking…if these students choose to not have sex or drink because it is against their religion why should they have to sit through a 90 minute class about how to do both of those things safely? We are forcing them to participate in this…but we panic when they offer flyers that are trying to accomplish the same thing but just by a different method? Seems like a double standard to me. Just because you disagree with them, or don’t see a problem with being sexually active, does not give you the right to personally attack these two girls or put them down by saying they don’t belong here at UCLA. Not saying I agree with them, but props to them for sticking up for something they believe in and voicing their beliefs.

  • SLORAD BS 86

    Surprising direction for an open minded and though provoking university. When we watched The Killing Fields at Ackerman Hall, the idea of re-education camps shocked me the most, and I began to understand how fascism and communism can impact people and society. Are varied points of view still desired at UCLA? Or are students with differing points of view required to simply attend re-education camps AKA “Orientation,” “Diversity requirements,” etc. Sad if true.

  • Stag Nation

    Leave these girls alone! Though with good intentions, college presentations do have an inherent bias to spread the belief that sex is okay when contraception is involved and that alcohol usage is normal on campuses. Their outcry is probably praised by other conservative students who were too scared to act or intimidated by the college’s liberal atmosphere. This incident serves as a reminder that campus is very diverse and all these different mindsets have to be accounted for when making presentations.

  • Jim

    These girls are going to see and hear a LOT of things at college that they disagree with. If they have a problem with this, then they should not attend college, or attend a religious college that is run in accordance with their beliefs.

    • tomhayward

      Jim, maybe you missed the part that this was MANDATORY.

      Let’s see, you spend YOUR money on college, work your rear end off, and you HAVE to take a non-credit course that talks about all this BS?

      That’s not higher education, has nothing to do with learning, and is not about “campus life”. Although, I am sure you’re likely there for the poontang, so this likely falls on your deaf, stupid ears.

      • Jim

        Sorry, since when was attending UCLA mandatory? Since when was attending orientation mandatory even if you wish to attend the university?

        The university has the right to set the curriculum. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.

        And please cut out the insults, they aren’t appropriate for a Bruin.

  • harringm

    If they were Muslim the University would have bent over backwards to exempt them immediately. But they are devout Christians so everyone on this list falls all over themselves ridiculing them for being extremists.

    So much for tolerance at a University supposedly dedicated to open expression.

  • Thoughts

    As a former transfer student, I don’t remember taking this class or even knowing about it. Anyway, I guess my opinion on this is that if all that these girls want is to be excluded from a presentation that they believe violates their religious beliefs, they should have that right. I don’t see how it harms anyone and if they’re planning on abstaining from premarital sex and the use of birth control entirely, then why should they need to sit through a presentation on how to put on a condom / take oral contraceptives? Now if they were trying to deny this option to other students, there would be a problem. But if all they want is to be excluded … *shrugs* why should I care?

  • Me

    We’re all going to hell.