BostonLike many Catholic institutions, Boston College does not allow for the distribution of any types of birth control on campus, but up until recently they turned a blind eye to an unofficial campus group’s efforts to pass out free condoms to students.

The Boston College Students for Sexual Health, the group in question, has been handing out condoms and sexual health literature on campus since 2009, but in March, Boston College officials fired off a letter to the group telling them that distributing condoms is not congruent with the “values and traditions” of the school.

The school has a firm abstinence-only approach to sex-ed that goes beyond nixing condom freebies. The New York Times points out that on the college’s website, there is a section on sexually transmitted diseases, but there is no mention of any type of birth control, only abstinence.

Vowing to keep handing out condoms, the chair of the student group Lizzie Jekanowski said in her NYT interview, “It harkens to a much deeper Catholic morality of caring for your neighbor — and that’s literally what we’re doing, is caring for our neighbors.” The group hands out thousands of condoms every semester.

Handing out thousands of condoms each semester seems to indicate that there’s a need there. Boston College students are getting it in (as many college students do) and they need not only the right tools, but the right information as well. I understand why the school would shun any official endorsement of birth control options (that in itself is a topic for another day), but at least let knowledgeable, well-meaning people do that work.

When I was in college, my father’s insurance did not cover birth control pills (Ridiculous, no?), so I had to pay for it out of pocket. I was fortunate that my university’s pharmacy offered birth control pills for $7/month. Broke college kid that I was, even I could afford that and free condoms were readily available. I can’t imagine if I had been at a school that didn’t take that approach to sexual health. We can’t wish away pre-marital sex. It happens. It will continue to happen. Give the kids jimmy hats.

What do you think about Boston College’s “just say no” policy when it comes to sex? What was your sex-ed experience at your college?

Demetria Irwin is a New York City-based freelance writer/editor. Follow her on Twitter, @Love_Is_Dope.

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  • AnnT

    “Boston College Wants Condom Distributors to Pull Out”
    I see what you did there :-D
    It’s a Catholic school that they chose to go to. Stay and follow the rules or leave and join “regular” society.

    • Winn

      Perhaps the fact that unofficial groups have been doing this on campus for years, and the group in question handed out “thousands” each semester, indicates that the actual activities of BC students aren’t in keeping with the college’s official position, and these groups are attempting to care for their fellow students by providing them access to sexual health information and birth control. The college does not need to endorse the actions of the group or affiliate themselves in anyway. They also are not being asked to provide any financial support to the group. The college itself is at odds with the majority of Catholics, whom polls repeatedly show both use birth control and support its use and accessibility. It’s a college which accepts non-Catholics as well, just like the Catholic university I attended. When a college isn’t serving its own student population with either useful information or clearly-needed health resources, it’s time for a re-evaluation of policy and practice.

    • AnnT

      That I can understand.
      I don’t know anything about the school or what unofficial groups have been doing.
      Thanks for clearing this up because “Catholic college bans condoms” is like saying water is wet.

    • Pseudonym

      yES! The pun, the irony, so clever. So damn clever! hahahaha!

  • Sasha

    I really and truly don’t understand why people elect to go to Catholic colleges and univiersities or be employed by them knowing full well their stance on birth control and sex, then get up in arms about the policies. It’s exceptionally annoying, disrespectful and flat out arrogant to believe a whole institution should bend to the secular request at the hands of a few students. While I am an advocate for birth control, am Catholic (a paradox I’m aware) and do agree with the girls that is a form of loving they neighbor (literally and figuratively), I still believe that the school reserves the right to enforce the policies and teachings of the Church and students can leave if they dont like it.

    • Pseudonym

      Well, I had no idea Boston College was a Catholic University, so that could be part of it. Also, I’m sure there are a number of Catholic students participating in the premarital sex and condom distribution so it’s not just outsiders trying to change Catholics, but also Catholics saying “Let’s update our perspective.” Also, as a religious organization, BC is getting tax breaks. If they want to no allow other people to make their own choices based on their own religious or other beliefs, then they need to give up those tax breaks- but they never want to do that.

      Also, Catholicism (and related institutions) is basically a mess b/c its leaders protect pedophiles. If you can protect a man who forcibly sodomizes little boys, you can let someone pass out a couple condoms to consenting adults. I mean, seriously.

    • au napptural

      Agreed, Pseudonym. I didn’t even know Boston College was a Catholic school until this article. It’s not like it’s Notre Dame or something. These kids are just trying to get a good education. This stance is outdated, like curfews at HBCUs. People are grown, as long as they pay their tuition, stay in your lane.

  • Starla

    I need some clarification on this one. Are they going door to door, proactively handing out condoms? Or is it a situation where they keep their office open and anybody wanting condoms can come in and get it?

    I went to a Catholic high school and a lot of people were doing things, we had a few pregnancies each year. So knowing this I support the condom give out. I understand the church’s stance and sticking to core values, but to pretend that a lot of these kids are abstaining is completely ludricrous. If members of the priesthood cannot abstian I have no clue how we the laypeople are supposed to..kmt

    • Keshia

      Yes to all of this.

  • Anthony

    I don’t get it. The whole idea behind condoms is that you don’t have to pull out!