Boston College has threatened disciplinary action against a group of students distributing birth-control and information on safe-sex. The Catholic institution is calling the act a violation of the university’s mission.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are threatening legal action against Boston College, who sent a letter to the students on March 15. The College have demanded that the students in question stop Safe Sites, a network of rooms and other locations dispensing free contraceptives and safe-sex information.
This letter from Boston College stated that the student-run service is in conflict with the students’ “responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”
The letter came from Paul J. Chebator, the dean of students, and George Arey, director of residence life.
It stated that, “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.”
Jack Dunn, a spokesman for BC, e-mailed a statement to the Boston Globe.
He said, “As a Jesuit, Catholic university, there are certain Catholic commitments that Boston College is called to uphold.
“We ask our students to respect these commitments, particularly as they pertain to Catholic social teaching on the sanctity of life.
“We recognize that, as a reflection of society at large, many students do not agree with the church’s position on these issues. However, we ask those who do not agree to be respectful of our position and circumspect in their private affairs.”
Lizzie Jekanowski, chairwoman of BC Students for Sexual Health, said the Safe Site is providing the students with a service, which the College is failing to do. At 18 locations students can pick up free male and female condoms, lubricant, and pamphlets about sexual health.
Jekanowski, a senior from Williamsburg, said the College authorities was aware of the Safe Site service for some time before they sent their letter, she told the Boston Globe.
Staff attorney at the ACLU of Massachusetts, Sarah Wunsch, said that while she understands the university is religiously affiliated, she believes it is violating the law.
She called the College’s actions “entirely inappropriate” and said, “We’re up to a fight, if they are up for a fight.
“But we’d rather not fight about this.”
Jekanowski added that she sees the distribution of contraceptives and information to be in accordance with Boston College’s mission.
“We see it as very intrinsic of being a Jesuit that we provide these resources and we affirm the whole person,” she said.
“Students shouldn’t have to choose between holistic health care and a world class institution.”