Hofstra Red: A myth, not a social stigma

By Megan McKeever
On November 11, 2006

Freshman Ezra Chasser has only been at the University for two months, yet he is well aware of the term "Hofstra Red." What is it? The "Hofstra Red" is a supposed sexually transmitted disease only found at the University. Its classification has never really been determined aside from the UrbanDictionary definition which states "a rare strain of herpes unique to the nastiest of the nasty students attending Hofstra University." However, its name is echoed across the unispan daily.

"Everyone here knows someone who knows somebody who has Hofstra Red," said Chasser.

Is there any real truth though to the University having such a high STD rate that it has its own strain of one? The director of the Health and Wellness Center, Maureen Houck, has a comforting message for STD weary students.

"I have heard the rumors that Hofstra has its own STD along with the highest rate of STDs than any other college since I have gotten here, which has been nine years," she stated. "There is no truth in it whatsoever because if anyone would have those statistics it would be me and I don't have them."

Even with this evidence, Houck's statement sounds unbelievable to students like Jenny Shively who responded: "I think Hofstra has so many STDs. I've never actually seen the evidence but people that I know say 'Oh so and so has this' or whatever, and so many people here sleep around." She too has heard since entering Hofstra of its supposed abundance of STDs.

This association can be due to the fact that there really is no factual proof to show otherwise. Any STD testing at the University needs to be reported to Nassau county and is not separated as its own college entity.

Houck explained the process of the tests. "If someone has an STD and they get tested, those tests are deposited automatically to the county, but whatever address you put on that lab form, it's the county that is going to be reported," Houck said. "If a student came from the Bronx, the lab testing is going to be reported to the Bronx." This means that there is no real way to track down the STD rate at Hofstra, and students are only able to look up Hempstead's statistics. This is not saying however that the University does not have STDs present.

"I will not deny that we do have STDs on this campus because then I would be a liar," Houck said, "Obviously we do just as any other college."

Sophomore Jimmy Gilligan had similar thoughts about the rumored high STD rate.

"You put 50,000 19 year olds in any state or any group, and they are all going to have the same STD rate," Gilligan said. "I have never met a single person here who has outright said 'I have an STD,' never once and I don't think I ever will."

While Gilligan and other students are left unsure of the STD rate at Hofstra, they can rest assure that there is one they will not get: the Hofstra Red.

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