A Catholic university is threatening disciplinary action against students who are distributing condoms and sexual health information on campus.
According to The Boston Globe, officials at Boston College have sent letters to members of the university's BC Students for Sexual Health group, who distribute the contraceptives at 18 different Safe Sites locations, both on- and off-campus.
The students were told that their actions are in conflict with their responsibility to protect the values and traditions of the university.
"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," the letter stated, according to the newspaper.
BCSSH is an unrecognized student organization operating on campus. The group has received various grants to fund their mission, including one from the non-profit Advocates for Youth. Additionally, they distribute as many as 1,500 condoms each semester from the Great American Condom Campaign and have received several hundred female condoms from the company FC2.
According to a recent report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people, including college-aged individuals, have the highest risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. The CDC estimates nearly 20 million new STDs occur each year, and those between the ages of 15 and 25 account for half of them.
The most common infections among this group include HPV, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Health experts advocate the "consistent and correct" use of latex condoms as the most effective way to reduce the risk of contracting STDs.
BCSSH members state that they will fight to continue distributing the birth control devices as well as educational resources on safe sex.
"We're up to a fight, if they are up for a fight," Lizzie Jekanowski, student and BCSSH chairwoman, told the newspaper. "But we'd rather not fight about this."