You would think promoting safe sex on a college campus was a good thing. Think again, especially if the university is a private Catholic institution. In 2009, a condom campaign was started by by Boston College Students for Sexual Health, an unofficial student group not recognized by the college yet has existed with the school’s knowledge. Members of the organization would pass out condoms to students on campus and throughout dormitories. School officials are now threatening the group with disciplinary actions, which has sparked outrage not only from students but from the local ACLU chapter.
On March 15, Dean of Students Paul Chebator and Director of Residence Life George Arey sent an email to the students saying, “The distribution of condoms is not congruent with our values and traditions.”
“We do need to advise you that should we receive any reports that you are, in fact, distributing condoms on campus, the matter would be referred to the student conduct office for disciplinary action by the university,” the letter warned.
But school officials maintain they are a private, religious institution and have the right to set and enforce policies as they see fit. Jack Dunn, spokesman for the college, dismissed the ACLU’s involvement, saying they have no standing in the matter at the Jesuit school.
Dunn said that student distributing contraception had “taken it to a new level,” which prompted the warning after four years of students engaging in the practice. No longer confined to dorm rooms, Dunn said students had become a visible and disruptive presence on campus, handing out condoms in front of churches and on sidewalks.
“Boston College doesn’t care how students handle their private lives. You can have condoms in your room,” he said. “But it has become an attempt to make a mockery out of Catholic values.”
Lizzie Jekanowski, chair of Boston College Students for Sexual Health was offended by Dunn’s statement. Jekanowski believes that none of the actions by the group were disrespectful to the university.
“We have the privilege of attending a Jesuit Catholic university so dedicated to the development of the self — both the body and the soul — that we find it both appropriate and necessary to advocate for these sexual health issues that are an integral aspect of that process,” she said in a statement released on March 24.
Do you feel that the organization should have a right to distribute condoms on campus?
Boston College Threatens Disciplinary Action Against Students Who Distributed Condoms