Planned Parenthood representative speaks to student body


Group of students listening to Danielle Gonzalez speaking about Planned Parenthood services. Photo by Daniel Wilcox.

Haley Newman, Contributing Writer

On Monday, April 15, Union Pride, Women’s Union and AAUW combined forces and ran a Planned Parenthood event. The overbridging themes of this event were discussing ways to support Planned Parenthood, sexual assault awareness and volunteer opportunities at the school and local region.

Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides sexual healthcare to American communities. In response to the recent sexual assault allegations, Planned Parenthood is stepping up their presence at Union to provide students with another resource to turn to in times of need. These services include flyers with helpful information placed all around campus, office hours with a Planned Parenthood employee and a confidential resource outside of Union’s realms.

To get the word out there about these changes to campus, Planned Parenthood is hoping to get involved with students when they first arrive at Union and plan more tabling at Reamer Campus Center. Other ideas put forward were the offering of self defense courses, training Resident Advisors about sexual assault and holding workshops more often. Attendees agreed that office hours at Wicker Wellness Center would be of immense help for students seeking solace in their time of need. The woman representing Planned Parenthood at the event, campus sexual assault specialist Danielle Gonzalez, would hold these hours as much as is deemed necessary by students. She stated that these hours were for anyone who needed someone to speak to. Gonzalez stressed the importance of being more involved on campus and that Planned Parenthood would always be there for students.

The Schenectady Clinic offers many services to not only the college but to the surrounding area. They offer STI screening, HIV testing, primary sexual health aid and abortions. Despite a debate currently ongoing regarding the defunding of Planned Parenthood because of the abortion services offered, abortions are only about 3 percent of their services. Additionally, the group was told that before having an abortion, women attend counseling sessions to make sure their decision is truly what they wish to do. Recently, the Schenectady Clinic began offering services for the transgender community. These services also include counsel for people who have been sexually assaulted.

Many people had previously had to resort to traveling a far distance in order to have access to these services, which are now located much closer to home.

There was some talk about changes that could be made to the Title IX office at Union College. Some suggested that a trained Planned Parenthood professional could be hired to join the staff. With the school stressing the trust they want students to have for administration, the college is open to listening to the suggestions of students and the campus community.

Students were told during the event that it is vital for everyone to be there for each other, in order to create a climate where everyone feels safe.

If you are seeking help and feel you have nowhere else to turn, call 1-800-656-4673, the National Sexual Assault Hotline available 24/7.