Boston College’s Students for Sexual Health, an unofficial group formed in 2009, advocate safe sex on campus by distributing condoms, health pamphlets, and lube-- or at least they’ve been trying to. Administrative staff at Boston College recently sent them a cease and desist letter stating that such behavior is “not congruent with our values and traditions.”
The campus group's behavior appears to be in complete opposition to the traditional Boston College suggestion of abstinence as the best way to prevent pregnancy and disease. While the university claims it is “committed to maintaining and strengthening the Jesuit, Catholic mission,” the abstinence-only method reeks of other long-standing Catholic teachings that also encourage ignorance as the best policy.
A meeting has been scheduled for April 29 to determine how the safe sex group and the administration can co-exist on campus, though the outcome may affect many more people around the state of Massachusetts and beyond. The Sexual Health Group has received support from the MA branches of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union. Nevertheless, members of Boston College's Pro-Life Club predictably side with the Dean of Students, agreeing that the actions of the Sexual Health group are in not the best interest of the college.
“Having condoms distributed on campus is the university kind of validating hookup culture,” says Katelyn Conroy, a Pro-Life group member. Lizzie Jekanowski (pictured above, right), chairwoman of the Sexual Health Group, disagrees: “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 prevention, S.T.I. prevention— and unless they have them available, they’re not going to use [them].”
Safe sex should never be up for debate, but it seems the way we share information about how to practice it is still a touchy subject. For now, in a wave of “normalizing the presence of condoms,” the group will continue to distribute them for free around campus.
Images via NYTimes and BU.edu.