Catholic colleges face a quandary when it comes to sexual health: should officials be realistic about the high (read: normal) levels of sex-having going on amongst their adult students or follow the Vatican's example and ignorantly preach safe sex via abstinence and prayer? Boston College has chosen the latter path.
Boston College Students for Sexual Health is an unofficial campus group that works with campus offices like residential life and health services to plan forums and programming around sexual health. The group often holds free condom giveaways near campus, and it keeps a list of about 15 dorm room "safe sites" where students can get free male and female condoms, lube, and other safe sex info. Helpful!
But "safe sex" on campus leads to "premarital sex" which implies "the devil incarnate," which is why the group got a letter from the administration last month telling them to stop their unholy work. From the New York Times:
“The distribution of condoms is not congruent with our values and traditions,” read the letter, which was signed by Paul J. Chebator, the dean of students, and George Arey, the director of residential life.
“While we understand that you may not be intentionally violating university policy, 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 said.
“As a Jesuit, Catholic university, there are certain Catholic commitments that we are called to uphold, including the commitment not to publicly distribute condoms on our campus,” Jack Dunn, a spokesman for the college, elaborated in an e-mail.
The group is calling bullshit. “Students are going to be having sex regardless, and unless they have the education to know that you need to use a condom every time — for pregnancy pevention, S.T.I. prevention — and unless they have them available, they’re not going to use it,” said senior Lizzie Jekanowski, the chairwoman of the group.
Unfortunately for the administration, the students on their side sound like idiots — they once handed out packages of dental floss while the BCSSH handed out condoms (cool radical counter-revolutionary tactic, guys!!) and told the NYT that "having condoms distributed on campus is the university kind of validating hookup culture...The argument is that condoms prevent the spread of S.T.D.’s, but, really, if you hand out condoms on campus, it puts an idea in their head.”
Because most teenagers think babies come from a stork and the female orgasm is a myth until they get their first free condom on campus.
Ironically, group members say that the controversy has only publicized their efforts. “That’s been the student response more than anything else,” Jekanowski said. “‘Wait, I can get free condoms? Where?’” [Insert evil laugh here.]
Other religious college campuses struggle with administrations that think condoms are gateway drugs to AIDS; Catholic University Students for Choice even launched a guerilla condom distribution group last year. But isn't it more Catholic to help your fellow students than it is to pretend everyone will stay chaste if they have to wade through incorrect sex-ed info online and pay a few bucks for condoms? "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," Jekanowski said. Amen.
Image via Elizabeth Chapman/Shutterstock.