By Kortni Robinson
Raider Rash. The dreaded term. We’ve all heard of it. We’ve all been embarrassed by it. But the question still remains, is it real?
The phrase is a slang term for STDs at Texas Tech University, according to Urban Dictionary, which also suggests that Tech is known for a high STD rate—one in four.
Urban Dictionary is incorrect and the statistic is completely made up, said Kelly Bennett, medical director of the Student Wellness Center and an associate professor at the Tech Health Sciences Center.
“It’s Lubbock with the unbelievably high STD rate—not Tech,” Bennett said.” People extrapolate that it’s Tech. It’s not. It’s the local population.”
She said Raider Rash is a catchy phrase with nothing to support it because STDs at Tech are no more of a problem than at any other university. Only 5 percent of chlamydia and 1 percent of gonorrhea tests performed at the Student Wellness Center come back positive, Bennett said, adding that the center also diagnoses only one or two cases of syphilis or HIV a year.
Tech students have many options for STD prevention and treatment as well as for achieving overall sexual health.
“We give the HPV vaccine, sell condoms, do STD testing as well as pap smears,” Bennett said. “We also treat bacterial infections with antibiotics, viruses when able, parasites with parasite drugs, prescribe oral contraceptive pills and provide education for all of this.”
Yet, the Raider Rash term continues to be used to insult Tech students. During the Fall 2013 football season, Oklahoma State University published an article titled “Cowboys Look to Avoid Raider Rash.” Texas Tech students were buzzing all over campus about how offensive the article was.
Alex DeRossi, the newly elected external vice-president of the Student Government Association, agrees the term is offensive and inaccurate.
“Raider Rash was conceived from the statistic that the city of Lubbock has a high STD rate,” he said. “Texas Tech’s STD education is actually a leader in the academic world for its programs.”
Departments such as the Risk Intervention and Safety Education (RISE) office help decrease STDs and educate students about safe sex, DeRossi added.
Brenna Roedell, a first-year public relations major, said people in her hometown know about Raider Rash, which has given Texas Tech a bad reputation.
“Going to Texas Tech is looked down upon in my hometown primarily due to the fact that many kids in our high schools believe in Raider Rash,” she said. “I’m still mocked for going here. Even some of my closest friends look down on Tech. It’s unfortunate.”
Some Tech students take on the term with a laughing attitude.
Senior finance major Harrison Shipp said Raider Rash said he heard about Raider Rash when he decided to attend Tech in third grade.
“Most students who don’t attend Tech use it negatively because they are haters,” he said. “Students from A&M, UT, OU and other colleges are just jealous that Texas Tech parties way harder than their mediocre colleges do.”
Added Shipp: “When I’m 60 years old, I’ll tell my grandchildren about Raider Rash, and I guarantee they will attend Tech as well. Texas Tech is a school for winners, and we breed winners. Wreck ‘em, Tech!”
And there are some who do not even know what the term means.
Christian Zuvich, a junior petroleum engineering major at Louisana State University, said he thought Raider Rash meant you had an awesome school spirit. He accidentally asked someone if they had it and didn’t understand the rude response.
Guess some people have never heard of the Baylor Bumps either.