Madison Polkowitz / Gavel Media

Sexual Health Wrapped in Red Tape

Sex. For better or worse, it’s an inevitable part of the college experience, and anyone who says otherwise is simply delusional. Safe sex on the other hand, is much less certain. It requires effort not just on behalf of students, but on the administration as well. Boston College refuses to make such an effort.

In a recent UGBC referendum, the student body was asked, “Should Students for Sexual Health be permitted to distribute contraceptives to their peers and hold meetings on campus, without receiving official university recognition or funding?” 2,825 students voted in favor, with only 177 voting against. If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now undeniable that an overwhelming amount of BC students seek better access to sexual resources and education from the university. Yet in a statement to The Heights, the university made it clear they will not be changing their stance on distributing contraceptives on campus. In my opinion, and the opinion of 2,824 others, this is a huge mistake.

BC claims that as a Catholic institution, it would be compromising their values to support such services; honestly, there is an inkling of truth behind their opposition. The Catholic Church is adamantly against pre-marital sex and related contraceptives, and it would be “un-Catholic” for the school to work against these doctrines. This issue forces our Catholic college to choose which comes first: Catholic or college? Although BC claims the decision is a difficult one, it shouldn’t be. BC is a college before all else, and their first priority should always be the safety and wellbeing of the students. Any sort of school identity or corresponding ideology comes secondary to the student body. In upholding the principles of the Church, BC is compromising on the principles of a university.

It is not as if the school doesn’t make other “compromises” in order to meet the needs of their diverse, multi-religious body. The school, as it should, allows for the existence of non-Catholic religious groups, LGBTQ groups, and the dining halls sell meat on Friday during Lent. Drawing the line at sexual health seems a bit arbitrary.

Ideals aside, the decision to block Students for Sexual Health doesn’t seem to serve any practical purpose either. If the school could completely eliminate sex and contraceptives on campus, I could at least understand their goals, if not agree with them. This, for obvious reasons, is impossible (it’s not as if the Comm. Ave bus doesn’t take us directly to CVS). Ignoring the referendum makes condoms more inconvenient and more financially burdensome to acquire. BC students voted for this change, expressed their views and wishes for their university, and BC decided not to listen.

Students at BC will continue to have sex regardless of the resources the school provides. Is it “un-Catholic?” Maybe, but it’s also a completely natural and healthy part of the college experience. The only question still on the table is how safe it will be. In refusing to provide sexual resources on campus, and banning student groups that try to, the BC administration is doing a disservice to their students. While it would be great if the university wanted to throw their full support behind Students for Sexual Health and their on-campus work, that may be a lot to ask. Personally, I’d settle for BC turning a blind eye, allowing Students for Sexual Health to operate without university assistance, and letting their students wrap it in something a bit safer than the red tape currently being provided.