Since 2009, Boston College Students for Sexual Health—an unofficial student group at Boston College—has regularly distributed free condoms and sexual health information near campus. But according to an April 8 article in The New York Times, last month The BC administration sent the group a letter ordering it to stop distributing condoms as the act violates university policy and goes against the values of the Jesuit college.
As a private Catholic university, BC has all the right in the world to ban the group from distributing condoms on its campus—but to do so would be to clearly place religious values over the health and well-being of students.
According to a 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 70 percent of females and 71 percent of males ages 15-24 are sexually active.
The BC administration may wish all it wants to believe its students are chaste outliers, dedicated to practicing abstinence until marriage. But the reality is that most people begin having sex when they are teenagers and never quite grow out of it.
In fact, after adolescence, most people keep right on having sex for, well, the rest of their lives. It’s as if sex is a completely natural thing to do. It’s almost as if it’s pleasurable.
Perhaps BC officials don’t want to admit sexual health is an important topic on every college campus, but they can’t deny that BCSSH only exists because the student body demanded it. In 2009, 89 percent of student voters passed a health referendum calling for access to sexual health resources, including the availability of condoms on campus.
And for good reason: the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported that roughly two-thirds of new sexually transmitted infections occur in people under the age of 25. A section on BC’s website devoted to information on sexually transmitted infections acknowledges this statistic and recommends abstinence as the best way to prevent the spread of STIs.
Certainly, abstinence is the undisputed best way to prevent the spread of STIs. But that doesn’t mean college students who aren’t having sexual intercourse will refrain from all of the other activities that can lead to STIs. This is because sexual exploration can be a perfectly healthy part of life for those interested in it.
Wouldn’t it be wiser to allow an outside group to provide the many students who choose to have sex with all the tools and knowledge they need to practice it in a healthy way?
According to The New York Times article, BCSSH receives no funding at all from the university, but from the Great American Condom Campaign and Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, among other groups.
If BC wasn’t so bent on enforcing dogma, it would realize that the presence of the group on campus is a good thing for everyone.
Because BCSSH is providing condoms and safe-sex information to students, the administration doesn’t have to sign a check to provide condoms and as an institution, it can go on pretending that none of its students need access to or information about contraception.
But in reality, it is BCSSH, not the administration, that has the health of the student body in mind.__