Georgetown University, a Jesuit college located in Washington, D.C., has decided to allow a student group to distribute condoms on campus. This move differs from a previous decision made by Georgetown's sister Jesuit school, Boston College, to stop the promotion of safe sex on campus because it went against the university's religious values.
Georgetown, the oldest and first Jesuit university in the nation, announced that it will not be stopping H*Yas for Choice, an independent student group advocating pro-choice and pro-safe sex, from distributing condoms to students on campus. The student group offers an online form to fellow students seeking to have condoms distributed at their party or event; the students then may either pick up their condoms or have them delivered.
"H*yas for Choice is not an organization with access to university benefits and does not use university resources," Rachel Pugh, director of media relations at Georgetown, said in a statement. "We respect the rights of our students to join outside groups as individuals and believe this activity falls within that context."
One student, Andrew Schilling, told the local student newspaper, the Georgetown Voice, that he doesn't think the group's condom distribution has a positive impact on the university's already growing "hook-up culture." "Hoyas do not need more contraception, or a more efficient method of distributing them," Schilling said. "Unfortunately, the proposed plan does nothing to tackle the urgent problems of Georgetown's current hook-up culture, like the high rate of sexual violence committed against women."
Earlier this year, Boston College was faced with a similar dilemma of allowing condoms and "safe sex materials" distributed on campus by the student-run group "Safe Sites." The university ultimately decided to ban the group from distributing condoms in any of its 18 dorm locations on campus.
"The distribution of condoms is not congruent with our values and traditions," Boston College's Dean of Students Paul Chebator and Director of Residence Life George Arey said in an email to students earlier this year.
"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," the email continued, adding that the university has a "responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution."