Officials at Boston College have barred a campus group from distributing free condoms, a move that follows bans that have taken place across the country at other Catholic-affiliated institutions.
“The distribution of condoms is not congruent with our values and traditions,” read a letter to Boston College Students for Sexual Health, according to The New York Times.
It was signed by Paul Chebator, dean of students, and George Arey, director of residential life at the Jesuit institution in Newton, Mass.
“Should we receive any reports that you are, in fact, distributing condoms on campus,” the letter continued, “the matter would be referred to the student conduct office for disciplinary action.”
The group, formed in 2009, has worked with campus offices such as residential life and health services to provide resources and information about sexually transmitted diseases, birth control choices, and Planned Parenthood clinic locations, group member Chelsea Lennox told the Times.
But Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said in a letter to the newspaper, “As a Jesuit, Catholic university, there are certain Catholic commitments that we are called to uphold.”
The ban on the distribution of condoms is similar to bans at other universities with Catholic founding missions, including the College of the Holy Cross, also in Massachusetts, and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
The school did not specify what disciplinary action the group could face if members ignored the warning, but the ACLU of Massachusetts is reportedly planning to defend the students if necessary.
“They don’t have a right to impose their religious beliefs on students or faculty through threats and intimidation,” said executive director Carol Rose.
The students and the administration have reportedly scheduled an April 29 meeting to discuss the situation.
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