Boston College threatens students for condom distribution
A group of Boston College students is being threatened with disciplinary action for distributing free condoms from their dorm rooms, which the university calls a violation of school policy.
Boston College Students for Sexual Health operates more than a dozen campus “safe sites”: dorm rooms and other locations where students can receive condoms and information on safe sex.Earlier this month, Dean of Students Paul J. Chebator and Director of Residence Life George Arey sent a letter to the students living in those rooms.
“We would call your attention to the BC student guide which indicates that Boston College students have ‘the responsibility to respect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.’ The distribution of condoms is not congruent with our values and traditions,” the letter read, according to BC’s student newspaper, The Heights.
“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,” the letter continued.
The group’s chairwoman, Lizzie Jekanowski, told the Boston Globe that the university has known for more than two years that the group, which is not officially recognized by the school, gives out condoms.
“Young people have a right to the health care services and information that will allow them to make the best decisions for their health,” Jekanowski said in a press release. “By banning the distribution of condoms on campus, even in the privacy of students’ own dorm rooms, Boston College leaves a dangerous void in student health education, resources, and programming.”
The group contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts after receiving the letter. Staff attorney Sarah Wunsch said she’ll take legal action if BC doesn’t reconsider its threat, which she called “entirely inappropriate.”
“I am very disturbed, and the students have rights that are at stake here,” Wunsch told the Globe. “We’re up to a fight, if they are up for a fight. But we’d rather not fight about this.”
BC spokesman Jack Dunn said the school has invited the students “to meet with administrators and members of the Jesuit community to discuss this issue in a respectful, constructive format.”
“As a Jesuit, Catholic university, there are certain Catholic commitments that Boston College is called to uphold,” Dunn wrote in an email to the Globe. “We ask our students to respect these commitments, particularly as they pertain to Catholic social teaching on the sanctity of life.”
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos